Dr Oz: Fake News Exposed
Dr Oz wanted to take the time to tackle the issue of “fake news.” But he wasn’t referring to comments made out of Washington D.C. that verified news sources were fake. Instead, he was talking about works that are completely fictional and disguised as a news story, designed to trick your brain. Fake news is click-bait internet stories that capitalizes on lies, half-truths, or conspiracy theories, designed to make you click to a different site or share with your own network of social media friends.
The number one goal is to make money on the ads you see on the sides of the page. Some of the ads are real but advertisers may have no idea their products are being promoted on the site. Even worse, some ads are scams that have been created to steal your money.
Dr Oz wanted to hear from someone who makes and spreads fake news. He invited Jestin Coler, a CEO who has created more than a dozen fake news websites and has hired people to work to create click-bait fictional news stories. Jestin shared that in 2012 he launched his own site after discovering several sites that were created in opposition of the Obama Administration. He considers himself a democrat and even voted for Hillary Clinton in the last election, yet he’s now writing articles that would be considered part of the alt-right.
Dr Oz: The Man Behind A Fake News Site
Jestin explained that for him it wasn’t as much about influencing people or trying to sway voters. Instead, it was something he and his friends did and continue to do for fun. Since he launched “National Report” a fake news site in 2013, he’s hit about 100 million page views and his best-ever story got about 6 million.
One of the main reasons the stories exist is to confirm people’s already biased minds, according to Jestin. He admitted that the business itself brings in six figures. He has recognized that his company has made mistakes in the past and they have since shifted their business model into more satirical journalism.
Dr Oz: Fake News Social Experiment
With Jestin’s help, Dr Oz conducted a social experiment in which Jestin and his team created a fake news website with fake news articles. They then enlisted women all along the political spectrum to read the fake news, while Dr Oz’s medical team read their brain. He was interested to see the effect fake news would have on their brain.
Jestin created two fake news articles appealing to opposite ends of the political spectrum. The first headline was “Environmental Scientist Jailed for Publishing Global Warming Proof” and the second was “US BORDER PATROL: ‘200,000 Immigrants Used Series of Tunnels to Sneak into California.'”
Jestin explained that for a story that were to really take off and go viral, it could bring in $6-8,000! Three women were asked to read the articles while having their brains examined. None of the women knew the articles were fake. They were a bit surprised to learn that the articles they read were fake and even said “so now we don’t have to be so angry about it?”
As they read the articles, an EEG found that the emotional centers lit up. In particular, the “fear center” of the brain lit up while reading the fake news, causing an immediate response in the body. In one women who considered herself “passionately liberal” she had a pretty extreme response to an article about climate change suppression.
Jestin admitted his eyes were certainly opened by the social experiment. But he also wants people to understand that there are “lots of shades of truth online.” He claimed that it comes down to viewers of content being responsible for the content they consume.
Dr Oz made it clear that as long as fake news is out there, he’s going to fight it. But would you know how to spot fake news if you came across it?
Dr Oz: How To Spot Fake News
Thankfully, Dr Oz turned to Christine Durst, an online security expert who shared her tricks for spotting fake news, especially on Facebook. First, you want to look out for “tricky URL’s.” You’ll want to look for “the double dot” which is another extension added to a familiar looking URL. There may also be another letter added to trick you. Additionally, the web design can be similar to other websites you make recognize.
Next, if you see all capital letters or truly provocative headlines, it’s a way to try to get you to share stories without even reading the story. Christine suggested you copy the headline and paste the headline into Google News to see if it shows up as legitimate. You can also check “Snopes,” “Factcheck.org” or “Politifact.”
As Dr Oz stated “Be aware before you share.”