What We Talk About When We Talk About ‘Fake News’

Fake news is a media-business problem, not a term to be used in dust-ups about political viewpoints and/or to denigrate information one simply dislikes.

Perhaps it takes German lawmakers to remind us that “fake news” is not defined as anything we choose it to mean. While Germany’s newly proposed social-media bill makes its way toward that country’s Parliament, here in the United States powerful voices have co-opted the term.

Germany’s got it right — “fake news” is actually about stories written to win clicks (and potentially do harm). Losing the focus on this accurate definition to spin and political jockeying creates a challenge for the business of marketers, advertisers, and publishers. It is about malicious business conducted for profit.

Unless we steer the use of the phrase fake news back to these crucial definitions, the business of media will lose control of the central struggle of the moment for the entire industry. What follows is a reminder of what we mean when we talk about fake news, reclaiming the term and refocusing it on the media-business challenge. [Article continues on StreetFight.com]

Julie Bernard is Chief Marketing Officer at Verve.

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