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Facebook is being asked by some people to do something about fake news. Does the term "fake news" refer to hit and run operations that try to get traffic for a particular article, or does it also refer to organisations which are heavily biased and have a tenuous relationship with reality, but have a sustained readership?

  • What's the difference between the two types of operations you describe? I don't think your question is exactly answerable given the two options you leave us with. – user1530 Nov 15 '16 at 2:17
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    VTC - "fake news" is a label used by a gazillion people in a political discourse this year, and its meaning is subjective opinion of whoever uses the term. Some people may use it for made up stories. Some people may use for "any story from source whose political bias I disagree with". Some may use it for "any story benefitting political side i hate". There is no one correct answer to the question as stated. – user4012 Nov 15 '16 at 2:24
  • @user4012 isn't your comment a valid answer in itself? – Andrew Grimm Nov 15 '16 at 2:52
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    Why don't you ask the people that are asking Facebook to do something about "fake news" what they mean? – jwodder Nov 15 '16 at 3:13
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Fake news on Facebook

There were actual fake (as in not published by news sites and not based on fact) news stories posted on Facebook. They'd use Facebook to drive traffic and make money via advertising.

The interesting part is that the people outside the US were apparently doing it purely for profit. Apparently the ad revenue from fake news articles posted on Facebook was enough to make a decent income in Macedonia.

It's a fascinating intersection of Donald Trump's celebrity, Clinton's unpopularity, and right wing hunger for news. And it doesn't even require actual malfeasance. It's possible that it arose on its own, although it is also possible that someone like Roger Stone (Trump's version of Bob Creamer) started it. Regardless, it seems to have spread into a cottage industry.

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    The question is "What do the media mean when they say Facebook fake news?" I linked a media story about fake news which explains what that article means. That article is consistent with other posts I've seen on the subject. As is my answer. If you have proof of the media describing actual, if biased, news sites as "fake news", you should post your own answer. I have yet to see that appear in a real news article. – Brythan Nov 15 '16 at 2:15

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