Eliot Michaelson
King's College London
Jessica Pepp
Uppsala University
Rachel Katharine Sterken
University of Hong Kong
The term "fake news" ascended rapidly to prominence in 2016 and has become a fixture in academic and public discussions, as well as in political mud-slinging. In the flurry of discussion, the term has been applied so broadly as to threaten to render it meaningless. In an effort to rescue our ability to discuss—and combat—the underlying phenomenon that triggered the present use of the term, some philosophers have tried to characterize it more precisely. A common theme in this nascent philosophical discussion is that contemporary fake news is not a new kind of phenomenon, but just the latest iteration of a broader kind of phenomenon that has played out in different ways across the history of human information-dissemination technologies. While we agree with this, we argue that newer sorts of fake news reveal substantial flaws in earlier understandings of this notion. In particular, we argue that no deceptive intentions are necessary for fake news to arise; rather, fake news arises when stories which were not produced via standard journalistic practice are treated as though they had been. Importantly, this revisionary understanding of fake news allows us to accommodate and understand the way that fake news is plausibly generated and spread in a contemporary setting, as much by non-human actors as by ordinary human beings.
Keywords fake news  journalistic ethics  journalistic practice  online ethics  sharing
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.26556/jesp.v16i2.629
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

What is Fake News?M. R. X. Dentith - 2018 - University of Bucharest Review (2):24-34.
What is Fake News?Romy Jaster & David Lanius - 2018 - Versus 2 (127):207-227.
Fake News: A Definition.Axel Gelfert - 2018 - Informal Logic 38 (1):84-117.
The Problem of Fake News.M. R. X. Dentith - 2016 - Public Reason 8 (1-2):65-79.
Stop Talking About Fake News!Josh Habgood-Coote - 2019 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 62 (9-10):1033-1065.
What is Fake News?Nikil Mukerji - 2018 - Ergo: An Open Access Journal of Philosophy 5:923-946.
Fake News and Partisan Epistemology.Regina Rini - 2017 - Kennedy Institute of Ethics Journal 27 (S2):43-64.
Fake Identities in Social Network Research: To Be Disclosed?Shunhai Qu & Viroj Wiwanitkit - 2014 - Science and Engineering Ethics 20 (4):1151-1151.
Fake News, False Beliefs, and the Need for Truth in Journalism.Aaron Quinn - 2017 - International Journal of Applied Philosophy 31 (1):21-29.
Aesthetics of Fake. An Overview.Andrea Mecacci - 2016 - Aisthesis: Pratiche, Linguaggi E Saperi Dell’Estetico 9 (2):59-69.


Added to PP index

Total views
492 ( #13,978 of 2,425,356 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
93 ( #7,168 of 2,425,356 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes