By Sarah Parks
This election season there has been an increase in fake news posted to social media to confuse voters and spread misinformation.
The hoaxes are often driven by partisanship as a way to intentionally sway votes.
“There is a hoax that is going around right now that you can text in your vote for Hillary, and it is completely not true,” said Mignon Fogarty, a social media professor at the University of Nevada, Reno. “If you convince people that they can vote by texting, then they don’t go to the polls and they don’t cast their real vote.”
Although fake news isn’t anything new, Fogarty believes it is becoming more sophisticated and harder to discern from real news.
“The rise of fake news isn’t just a problem for this election, I actually think that it is a danger to democracy because if you can’t agree on the facts, you can’t have an informed debate about what’s going on in our country.”
Fogarty warned digital users to be careful before sharing content on social media that may not be accurate by using fact-checking websites such as Snopes.
This report was produced in collaboration with our media partner KUNR, Reno Public Radio.