Fake news is a type of hoax or deliberate spread of misinformation (false information), be it via the traditional print or broadcasting news media or via Internet-based social media. To qualify as fake news, a story has to be written and published with the intent to mislead in order to gain financially or politically. As such, intentionally misleading and deceptive fake news is different from obviously satirical or parody articles or papers such as The Onion. Fake news often employs eye-catching headlines or entirely fabricated news stories in order to increase readership and, in the case of internet-based stories, online sharing and Internet click revenue. In the latter case, profit is made in a similar fashion to sensational online "clickbait" headlines and relies on advertising revenue generated, regardless of the veracity of the published stories.
Easy access to online ad revenue, increased political polarization between the left and right and the ubiquity and popularity of online social media, primarily the Facebook newsfeed, have all been implicated in the spread of fake news. Anonymously-hosted fake news websites lacking known publishers have also been implicated, because they make it difficult to prosecute sources of fake news for libel or slander. The relevance of fake news has experienced greater growth in a post-truth reality. In response, researchers have explored the development of a psychological "vaccine" to help people to detect a fake news.

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