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  • Hello I'm Hugo and I'm Sam - welcome to

  • Fake News: Fact and Fiction from BBC

  • Learning English. In this series we're

  • looking at the fake news phenomenon,

  • what it is, where it comes from and how

  • we can fight it. Yes and we're also looking

  • at the language and vocabulary around

  • fake news so words and expressions that

  • you might hear or want to use when

  • discussing this hot topic. And in the

  • programme today how social media has

  • changed the fake news landscape. And I'll

  • be giving you some news about news.

  • We'll also try to understand what fake

  • news is and what it isn't. Now, Sam,

  • last time you talked about the word fake

  • what have you got for us today? Yeah so

  • today I'm talking about the word news so

  • where do you think that word comes

  • from, Hugo? It may be an acronym like

  • the first letters from north, east, west and

  • south like the points of the compass?

  • Very good.

  • That's a good guess and you're not alone

  • in thinking that but let's find out if

  • you're right. Here's something I recorded

  • earlier.

  • News, news, news, news is all

  • around me. Wherever you get yours from,

  • where does the word itself come from?

  • Is it an acronym for north, east, west and

  • south? Nope.

  • Does it stand for notable events, weather

  • and sports? Nope again. Does it simply

  • mean things that are new? Yes. It comes

  • from the late 1300s from the French word

  • nouvelle. News is simply new information

  • about something that has happened. It's

  • unusual in English because the word new

  • is an adjective, but news is not an

  • adjective, it's a noun, an uncountable

  • noun, and even though it has an S, it's

  • singular. So news is good or bad.

  • We have several expressions in English

  • using the word news, for example, 'no

  • news is good news', which basically

  • means

  • if you haven't heard anything, there are

  • no problems. 'That's news to me', I didn't

  • know that. 'Breaking news',

  • new news, something very important that

  • has recently happened, and 'if you break

  • the news' you are the person who passes

  • the news on, but, if you do break the

  • news, make sure it's not fake news.

  • That's really interesting and a lot of

  • that was news to me. Ah, very good,

  • Hugo, I see what

  • you did there. And what about you, Sam,

  • where do

  • you get your news from? Honestly truly I

  • mostly get it from the BBC News app.

  • That goes without saying - obviously -

  • yeah I also get

  • my news from the BBC but I find it

  • really important to get you know news

  • from different sources because you can

  • always get different voices and

  • different takes on what is happening. So

  • we know about the word fake and the

  • word news - put them together and you'll

  • get fake news but what does it actually

  • mean? Here's the BBC's Media Editor

  • Amol Rajan.

  • Fake news is lies and propaganda told for

  • a political or commercial purpose which

  • deploys digital technology,

  • social media, new networks to go viral to

  • reach around the world and influence

  • millions of people very very quickly.

  • So fake news

  • is information that isn't true and the

  • reason might be political or commercial,

  • to change opinion or make money. Yes so

  • I'd like to talk about one of the words

  • that Amol used - the word propaganda.

  • So this comes up a lot when talking

  • about this topic and let's just check

  • that we know what it means before we

  • move forward, so propaganda is a noun

  • and it describes information which is put

  • out for political reasons to get support

  • for a political party or a political

  • cause and it's designed to promote a

  • particular agenda, so to persuade people

  • to think a particular way or make people

  • support a particular policy. Propaganda

  • isn't always completely fake, but it's

  • often very one-sided and unbalanced and

  • may mix lies and the truth. So I guess

  • that's one of the challenges of being a

  • journalist, Hugo, is making sure that

  • you can actually determine what is true

  • and what isn't. Yeah it's a big challenge

  • and it's not made easier by social media.

  • Amol mentioned that digital technologies

  • and social media are tools used to spread

  • fake news but what is the problem here?

  • Let's get more about that, so earlier we

  • put some questions to today's expert

  • guest.

  • Hi my name is Samantha Bradshaw. I'm a

  • researcher at the Oxford Internet Institute

  • and I study how

  • disinformation affects democracy. Fake

  • news

  • has been around for as long as we've had

  • the printing press, so there's nothing

  • necessarily new about fake news. The

  • ways in which digital technologies can

  • enhance the spread and the precision of

  • these kinds of stories is something that

  • is new. So fake news on social media can

  • spread much more quickly and to many

  • more people because the flow of

  • information is very free compared to in

  • the past where we had journalists,

  • editors, TV channels controlling the flow

  • of information and what would or would

  • not get published. Today anybody with a

  • keyboard can essentially be a publisher.

  • Lots of interesting stuff there. Yes so

  • the first thing I noticed is that she

  • used the word disinformation and that

  • is often used to describe kinds of fake

  • news or false information that is

  • deliberately published and spread. She

  • also made the point that fake news, as we

  • know, is not new but it's always been

  • around but with social media and the

  • digital world it's allowed to spread

  • further and faster and without it being

  • controlled by traditional broadcasters

  • and publishers. So, now I know there's a

  • problem there obviously but doesn't this

  • also mean that there's now a bit more of

  • a democracy of information? Isn't it a

  • good thing that we don't only have these

  • traditional sources particularly if

  • those sources are government run or run

  • by one particularly powerful individual?

  • That's a very good point because if you

  • remember what happened during the

  • Arab Spring in the Middle East or even

  • protests in Iran and in many other

  • countries around the world social media

  • gave people a very important tool to

  • express themselves and well basically

  • journalists got to know what was

  • happening because of that - because

  • they weren't allowed in the country in

  • some cases - absolutely. The difference

  • here is that maybe those people who are

  • publishing these you know

  • this kind of information they don't go

  • through all the checks that we working

  • for mainstream media or traditional news

  • organisations have to go through which

  • is we interview people, we check the

  • facts, we recheck the facts to make sure

  • that everything is accurate. Of course we

  • make mistakes but when we do we

  • acknowledge them and correct them.

  • Yeah and also Samantha said anyone can

  • be a publisher so there's lots of people

  • out there sharing stories putting stories

  • out onto social media but they may not

  • have the knowledge or the resources to

  • check whether those are real stories and

  • therefore some of the stuff out there

  • might be inaccurate, it hasn't been

  • checked by anyone. Yeah there's a

  • famous saying which goes: A lie can get

  • halfway around the world before the truth

  • has got its pants on. Well I think these

  • days I can get all the way around the

  • world before the truth has even woken up

  • and what makes it even more challenging

  • is when people have been told not to

  • trust mainstream media. Hmm is this

  • what you mean? Let's have a look.

  • It's totally fake news - fake news - fake

  • news - you are fake news - it was fake

  • news. Thank you.

  • Yes the American President gets a lot of

  • criticism from

  • mainstream media. He says that has

  • been

  • an unfair attack on him. He uses the

  • phrase fake news when talking about

  • news that he doesn't like, that he doesn't

  • find convenient and when one of the most

  • powerful politicians in the world

  • accuses the mainstream media of being

  • fake news, that's a problem. Here's Amol

  • again. A lot of politicians or people in

  • the public eye have started to use the

  • words fake news or the phrase fake news

  • to basically describe news that they

  • don't like. If you're a politician who

  • wants to close down debate then you

  • might use the phrase fake news because

  • you don't want people to ask you

  • questions about something

  • uncomfortable so it's really important that

  • we're clear about what fake news does

  • and doesn't mean.

  • So it seems that the most

  • famous user of the phrase fake news

  • perhaps the person who's made it as

  • famous as saying as it is actually uses

  • it to mean something completely

  • different from the rest of us. Indeed.

  • Well to be clear when we're talking

  • about fake news we mean false

  • information, information that is not true

  • or not correct but which is published

  • and shared particularly on social media.

  • Well it's about time we wrapped up this

  • programme - Sam remind us of some of

  • today's key

  • vocabulary. Absolutely, of course. So we

  • learned that the word news comes from

  • the French word nouvelle and although it

  • has an S at the end it is not plural

  • it's an uncountable noun, so it's

  • always singular. We can say 'that's news

  • to me' if we find something out that we

  • didn't know before. 'No news is good

  • news' is an expression which means that

  • the lack of news probably means

  • everything's fine everything's OK because

  • if something bad had happened we

  • probably would have been told. 'Breaking

  • news' is new news, so something

  • important, and 'to

  • break the news' is to be the person who

  • gives the information to someone.

  • Propaganda is political information

  • which could be false or very one-sided

  • information and then we also had

  • disinformation which is a term for false