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BY-NC-ND 4.0 license Open Access Published by De Gruyter Oldenbourg 2021

Fake News

Tracing the Genesis of a New Term and Old Practices

From the book Digital Roots

  • Monika Hanley and Allen Munoriyarwa

Tracing the Genesis of a New Term and Old Practices



Fake news has recently emerged as a buzzword in media and political discourses. Many incidences ranging from ethnic violence, inter-racial and religious conflicts to mass riots have been blamed on the spread of fake news. This chapter provides a clear historicization of the phenomenon of fake news, from its early days as far back as can be documented up to present day. Here we advance the argument that fake news is not a new phenomenon, but a part of human lives since societies were formed and information was shared. We further argue that the technological changes of the past century and recent decades, along with the expansion of communication spaces, have simply accelerated the speed at which fake news can be shared, as well as increased the spaces and platforms in which fake news may be found and spread.

© 2021 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Munich/Boston
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