Dec 08, 2016 05:43 AM EST

Google 'AMP' To Blame For Improving Profits of Fake News Websites, Difficulty Of Discerning Credible Sources

By JC Santos

In a world of information, well-researched sources are the only thing people must believe. Unfortunately, due to Google's "AMP" HTML improvement and other news article aggregation improvements, discerning credible sources from illegitimate ones is becoming slowly impossible.  Feed-formatting has helped even fake news websites appear credible.

According to The Verge's in-depth look into fake news, people who spend less time browsing for information online and observing small details -- such as website URLs that appear generic or lacking authority -- is helping the spread of fake news. The post also indicates that the basics introduced by "AMP" including only a thumbnail image, publish date and source is making it homogenous with legitimate news sources.

Signs of an illegitimate news website include the number of social media fans, default or stock imagery as part of its web design. Consistently updated information -- such as a daily posting of 4 to 10 posts a day -- indicate a healthy news website with researchers and a dedicated team of writers. 

According to NPR, fake news is a serious problem because it had played a huge role in the US presidential election than ever before. Citing a more recent search results algorithm problem, the news website said that Google's search results were "hijacked" by news of space aliens caught on camera "sucking energy from the sun." The post also indicated a possible recourse for fake news victims -- if they can identify themselves as victims.

Social media and the internet have dangers for new users that rely solely on misinformation. Phishing emails and social media accounts, employment scams and even Ponzi schemes appear believable until one discovers it a bit too late. Fake news may be the biggest scam in the internet today as it becomes an influential tool that can avert mass opinion -- the US elections being one big example.

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