President Barack Obama condemned “fake news,” claiming the “propaganda” was destroying American democracy.
In a meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Obama called out the wildfire viral nature of fake news on social media, particularly Facebook.
Misinformation is “packaged very well and it looks the same when you see it on a Facebook page or you turn on your television,” Obama said. “If we are not serious about facts and what’s true and what’s not—and particularly in an age of social media where so many people are getting their information in soundbites and snippets off their phones—if we can’t discriminate between serious arguments and propaganda, then we have problems. If everything seems to be the same and no distinctions are made, then we won’t know what to protect. We won’t know what to fight for. And we can lose so much of what we’ve gained in terms of the kind of democratic freedoms and market-based economies and prosperity that we’ve come to take for granted.”
Fake news writer Paul Horner says Donald Trump won the presidency because of Horner’s hoaxes.
“My sites were picked up by Trump supporters all the time,” Horner told the Washington Post. “I think Trump is in the White House because of me. His followers don’t fact-check anything—they’ll post everything, believe anything. His campaign manager posted my story about a protester getting paid $3,500 as fact. Like, I made that up. I posted a fake ad on Craigslist.”