It feels like we’re living in a time of hijinks and sorcery, where things are seldom what they seem to be. A time of falsity and deception at almost every corner, where we struggle to determine what’s real and what’s not.
Wavering from the truth probably starts innocuously enough with a small lie here, a little change there…tiny things designed to create a better version of our truths as we’d like others to believe them too. Whether it’s actual surgical enhancement, or a touch of Photoshop, we’ve all spotted a bit of fakery in our time. The thing is, for the most part we can all look at them and say…well, there’s obviously been some work done. Some fake is quite easy to spot, quite harmless.
But fake has evolved and morphed. Fake has moved from cosmetic and frivolous, to pervasive and often harmful. We only have to look at our own tech devices to know how easy it is to distort the truth, to add filters to our photos, photoshop our lives, erase what we don’t like, and copy-and-paste what we do. And then we post.
When technology and software are as good and accessible as they are nowadays, the ability to elevate a false narrative with a veneer of credibility is within everyone’s reach. Now, people can distort the truth and create a completely new version of events – even if they’re not based on fact. Photo-editing. Deep-fake videos. Bots. They’re done so well we don’t even second-guess them…although we should.
While the Internet, social media and technology may have given democracy a global voice, they’ve also given bad players an opportunity to create fake news to sow mistrust, drum-up fear, create confusion, plant lies and encourage anarchy. It’s all so Orwellian.
The Media plays a central role in shaping our understanding of the news and circumstances around us. With an increased usage of mobile devices and high-speed internet, social media has become a pervasive influence in our lives.
But how on earth are we expected to discern fact from fiction? Who do we trust? Why do we trust? How much can we trust?
Join the Future of Media in partnership with Vodacom and EziAds, as we look at the current media space and debate everything you need to know about the dark world of fake news.
- Jocelyne Muhutu-Remy – Strategic Media Partnership Lead: Sub-Saharan Africa, Facebook
- Pule Molebeledi – Managing Director: News & Media, Arena Holdings
- Tshepo Sefotlhelo – CEO, Vuma Reputation Management
- William Bird – Director, Media Monitoring Africa
Partners of the Future of Media digitised series include Everlytic, Proudly SA, The MediaShop and WAN-IFRA.