In today’s society, the spread of what we call “Fake News” is more prominent and disruptive than ever. “Fake  News,” more formerly knowns as pseudo-news, is defined as “news, stories or hoaxes created to misinform or deceive readers deliberately. Usually, these stories are created to either influence people’s views, push a political agenda, or cause confusion and can often be a profitable business for online publishers.” It aims to deceive people into believing certain information that can work for the benefit of the fake news outlet or the people or companies in which they are promoting.

An article I recently read on HolmesReport.com, where New Yorker editor David Remnick states at a Cannes discussion that fake news is “an ‘emergency’ similar to climate change.” Although this may feel overinflated at first glance, I think we often forget that it is information that drives action. Action and the society we live in is so highly fueled by our understanding of the world around us. Misinformation can drastically skew our actions and what we prioritize. Information can be hidden from us and skewed to the point where we are only tenuously in touch with what is actually happening in our community.

For instance, there is a tremendous amount of fake news surrounding illegal immigration, ICE, and policies at the border. This information is jading us, putting us out of touch with the reality of the tragic events that are happening and how American officials are mistreating those seeking refuge or looking to become citizens. Many are turning a blind eye because of this, or are led to believe that immigration and those seeking refuge are destructive or dangerous to our country.

Fake news is at its worst now than ever before, and we need to look to diminish its spread at all costs and restore authenticity to our system of information circulation. The first step to doing this is to take individual and communal responsibility. It is to fact check, to only spread information that is authentic and reliable, to do research before you frivolously trust an article, no matter how trustworthy it looks. We will be able to make much more progress as a country when we are in touch with the realities of the world around us instead of incredibly skewed versions of those realities.