Fake news are not a new trend, but in times of emergency disinformation finds fertile ground.
How can we recognize them? What are the interests underneath such operations? Is it possible to eradicate this phenomenon?
#IAA Italy Chapter reflects on the topic in a dialogue between Andrea Delogu, Deputy Director of News of the Mediaset Group and Alberto Dal Sasso, President of IAA Italy.
Good morning Andrea, how do you frame the trend of fake news now and before Covid19?
Fake news thrive on social networks, especially at the time of the coronavirus: they have very low costs, high profitability, both commercial and political side. Today they can be used by anyone, just having a certain number of followers and being able to involve important names, because the human soul is more willing to believe in bad news, rather than good news.
But where does this phenomenon originate from your point of view and what evolution has it followed in recent years?
It certainly doesn't come from social networks, but historically we have to date it back to the 16th century in Florence with the “Gazzettieri”. Fake news is only an evolution, especially with the birth of Internet 2.0, the end of journalism seemed to be happening, because anyone could make its own news and the newspaper. Today the newspaper brands are once again enjoying public appreciation, unlike what appeared to be the trend 10-15 years ago.
So there is more demand for authoritative speeches?
The proliferation of fake news has led to the necessary resumption of the authoritativeness of the role of quality journalistic information. Audience recognizes in journalism a type of certified, authoritative, serious and professional information. We are therefore witnessing a return of confidence towards historical headlines.
And how do we put it with the control of sources in the days of social media?
Today the profession of journalist is even more risky and difficult: if you make a mistake, you pay heavily in terms of credibility and trust. This is why perhaps a historical paradigm of journalism is overturning today, that is, to be first on the news. Maybe it's better to finish second, but with certified news.
Quality, trust are terms that recur therefore but it is only the result of the period that we live?
If you are authoritative and certified, the news is looking for you: just think of the user generated content (UGC), which prefer notoriety through an authoritative news site rather than an anonymous site because they know they are rewarded and that the news will not be dispersed in the web
So advertisers and brands take advantage from this tension towards credibility?
Of course, this also applies to brands that return to guaranteeing product quality. At this moment, only brands are able to duly trace the controls of the supply chain. We have seen companies that have primarily dealt with employees, who have converted part of their production towards the production of masks. And these are companies and brand manufacturers that need the quality of programs schedule and the news.
Andrea, to come to the end of our talk, has the fake news viral trend, exactly like a virus, reached its peak?
The answer is very simple: fake news will certainly never end, but today it is easier to identify them. It is much easier to put a post on the net for a politician than to convene a thousand, ten thousand people in a square for a rally.