Fake News and the Bible: Which word is credible?

Issue 1901

7 January 2019

The internet allows us to access a wealth of information that was unthinkable a few decades ago. On the web and on social networks this information is created and exchanged in real time. A user may be disoriented when faced with such a quantity of news and data that corresponds to multiple points of view, each of which attempts to establish itself as truth. In this chaos, the news that makes the most noise and the opinions that acquire greater consensus and more “likes” are considered to be true. In a quagmire from which it is difficult to extricate oneself, how is it possible to authentically discern truth from falsehood? The skein is tangled, to say the very least, and misleading and false information that often manipulates people’s awareness is lurking on the internet.[1]

The pope dedicated his message for the 52nd World Communications Day to the “fake news” phenomenon. According to Pope Francis, “the effectiveness of fake news is primarily due to its ability to mimic real news, to seem plausible. Secondly, this false but believable news is ‘captious,’ inasmuch as it grasps people’s attention by appealing to stereotypes and common social prejudices, and by exploiting instantaneous emotions like anxiety, contempt, anger and frustration.”[2]

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