“On January 9, 2018, a South African website ran the shock headline that the country’s long-serving President Jacob Zuma resigned. The story caused the South African rand to spike, and then tumble, as hair-trigger investors reacted to the news. The story was a fake, but the website which launched it mimicked a genuine African news site…” (Source: https://medium.com/)
It seems that many Fake News websites do what they do in order to attract people to click on their site, because they make money from advertising for each click on their site. There also seems to be those who operate Fake News sites with political or business agendas. There has been several examples of how Fake News have influenced trading on the Stock Markets.
What is of concern to me is that Fake News can have an influence on the gathering and analyses of Open Source Intelligence. (See here for more on Intelligence https://mtac.co.za/wp/what-is-inteligence/ )
While Communities, Neighbourhood Watches, Survival groups etc are not Intelligence Agencies, they do make use of Information and more specific, News from the World Wide Web.
This is where the difference between Information and Intelligence becomes very important. For Information to really become Intelligence it needs to be Tested. Is it true? Sometimes you cannot really test information and you have to use untested Information as Intelligence, but it is very risky and not true Intelligence.
With the amount of Fake News these days, it becomes even more risky to trust untested Information. Let’s say you are travelling on a National Route and Fake News says that people are burning tyres in a location that you have to pass. If you blindly believe the Fake News as real, you might take a more deserted detour that is 50Km’s further, where there is no Route Safety Patrols and where you can run into trouble from Criminals with no help close to you.
Be Prepared for when Sh!t Happens. Prove Superior!