Do you think fake news can be killed with the truth? Think again–Sharon Pian Chan, Andre Alfred

Andre Alfred, Executive MBA Student at MIT Sloan

Andre Alfred, Executive MBA Student at MIT Sloan

Sharon Pian Chan, Executive MBA Student at MIT Sloan

Sharon Pian Chan, Executive MBA Student at MIT Sloan

From Art + marketing

The presidential election exposed deep divisions in the country, among our families, friends, in the workplace and in the classroom.

Buzzfeed’s recent findings about the power of fake news is particularly troubling. The 20-most read fake stories got more traffic than the top 20 stories reported by credible news organizations that verify facts and validate stories.

In fact, people writing fake news are making more money than journalists committed to reporting the truth, according to Seattle Times columnist Danny Westneat, who talked to a fake news site in Seattle called Bipartisan Report.

Fake news sent a man with an assault rifle to a pizza shop in Washington, D.C., searching for a fictional child sex ring connected to Hillary Clinton. (Check out The Washington Post’s story.)

What are the forces behind the creation and, let’s face it, widespread consumption of lies?

We decided to combine our engineering and journalism backgrounds to do a deeper dive on how fake news feeds on itself using systems thinking, a tool we have been studying at MIT the past year.

Our goal is to spark a more constructive dialogue about societal problems.

Sharon is an editor at The Seattle Times. Andre works at Microsoft and manages complex information technology systems. Both of us are also full-time students, pursuing Executive MBAs at MIT’s Sloan School of Management.

What we found is this: The truth is not enough to kill fake news.

Gird yourself for some math and science and we’ll show you why.

Read the full post at Art + marketing.

Sharon Pian Chan is an Executive MBA student at MIT Sloan School of Management. She is the Deputy Managing Editor at The Seattle Times. 

Andre Alfred is an Executive MBA student at MIT Sloan School of Management. He is a Principal Program Manager at Microsoft specializing in Cybersecurity. 

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