As we learned in the previous post on fake news - Why do they do it? - there are economic reasons why people create fake news. Consider this recent article about the Clearwater native who started a fake news website as a joke and got 1 million viewers within two weeks. Based on the article, do you think money was the only reason he did this? We live in an attention economy. How does attention serve as an incentive to posting fake news? Read the article and run it through an economic decision-making test by asking the following questions:
1) People make choices: What choice did he make?
2) There are costs and benefits to our decisions: What were the costs and benefits of his decision to spread fake news? As you read the article consider how he weighed the costs and benefits.
3) Incentives matter: What were his incentives to spread the news? Other than money, what other incentive did he have?
4) What were the consequences of his actions? Were they positive or negative?
5) Consider yourself in this situation. Would you stop? Why or why not?
Deborah Kozdras, Ph.D.