Why fake news narratives prosper online

( CNN) Fake news tales proliferated in this heated election cycle.

“Terrorists are funding 20% of Hillary’s campaign.”

First, follow the now-old proverb, “Don’t feed the trolls.” If someone posts a fake story, and you think they have simply been deceived, surely it is useful to point out the error with a more reliable source. Please do graciously. No one likes to be publicly humbled. Sometimes a private message is better. But if you think the posting is really about proclaiming identity, ignore it. Don’t amplify its value by arguing. And if you must say something, here a private message is genuinely better — you can convey your disapproval without providing the public display of discord that just strengthens their signal. Second, help promote a culture that adores veracity. Check your sources before you post anything. Support newspapers and other organizations that do good, reliable reporting. Deter people in your own community when they promote tales that feel good to you, but are, alas, untrue. Third, appreciate humor. Like fake news, gags and satire are markers of identity — funny to insiders, and often incomprehensible or offensive to foreigners. They may be tasteless, they may be divisive but unlike fake news, they are not an assault on truth.

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