Brand: BBC World Service
Agency: Third Eye/Flamingo
The subversion of democratic elections in Kenya, fueling inter-ethnic tensions amidst genocidal conflict in Myanmar, mob violence incited via viral WhatsApp messages in India – the terrifying consequences of 'Fake News'/ misinformation have been extensively reported by news organisations in recent years. The BBC World Service's Beyond Fake News initiative-with this research project at its heart- pledged to move beyond talking to actively fighting global misinformation.
A lot of the media commentary and emerging research on the phenomenon had focused on these acts of violence and their victims. And certainly there are a few basic conditions that are required for fake news to spread through networks: it needs someone to create the fake news, and it needs platforms and technologies which enable them to spread. But the journalism and academic research had not explored enough the agency of ordinary people. And so, for the BBC World Service Audiences team an understanding of the fake news phenomenon was simply incomplete without understanding this key question: why does the ordinary citizen share fake news without verification?