Good News or Fake News? You Choose

(Photo by Selma Komisky)

Good News or Fake News? You Choose

By Zelda Dominguez

We now live in the New Media Age based on information technology. By the late 90s, AOL Instant Messenger allowed Internet users to chat, blogging began, and Google started up. The dot-com bubble bursted, and the future of the internet was more uncertain than ever. By the 2000s, 70 million computers were connected to the internet. Google, LinkedIn, and Facebook came on the scene. 2005: Myspace and YouTube arose, and a year later, Twitter. By 2007, Apple introduced the iPhone. By the end of that decade, The Internet surpassed newspapers as the main source of information among Americans. Twitter generated 12,233 tweets per second during the Super Bowl. The IPad was introduced, there were more than 550 million users on Facebook, 65 daily tweets, and 2 billion video views every day on YouTube. The speed at which communication now occurs, the accessibility of information, the explosion of information surrounding us…you get the picture!

Now, in 2020, we have web platforms that help marketing with global data analysis and trends. The Facebook audience stands at 1.95 billion, or roughly 80 percent of total monthly active users. The onset of 5G networks. There is Pinterest worldwide, Digital banking, Alexa, Siri, Netflix, apps galore, and games to mention only a few of what things are out there. Digital, mobile, and social media have become a part of everyday life globally. More than 4.5 billion people now use the internet, while social media users have passed the 3.8 billion mark. Nearly 60 percent of the world’s population is already online, and the latest trends suggest that more than half of the world’s total population will use social media by the middle of this year.

Today some of this has become sort of a Carnival. Have you ever been in a Fun House? It’s a maze of distorted mirrors and fun pathways. But it can trick you into going the wrong way and instead, you get lost, not knowing how to get out. How about acts like the daredevil stunts which incite excitement, danger, and lure? An appeal to all with enticement at every corner!

That is how we seem to have gotten with all the technology information which surrounds us. We have been seduced and now addicted. We can get lost in all that’s offered and lose our way. We look to new trends to dictate our lives. Social media is inundated with advertisements for the latest make-up, hair products, health products, and fashion accessories. Pictures and claims of “you name it” and bingo….. we have to have it. YouTube video tutorials of how to apply our makeup to look like some celebrity. Yet we forget those selfies, or celebs photoshopped them or used a filter. When did we lose our individuality?

We rush to the carnival of apps and websites to compare and see what everyone else is doing.

How do we know what is real anymore? What’s advertised, who are we really chatting with, what’s posted, videos, articles, and news? Seriously, think about it. In light of politics, we hear the term fake news. All that controversy with possible tampering with votes by outside sources? We hear much on both parties. Then we hear conspiracy theories?

The term fake news often is used to refer to fabricated news. This type of news, found in traditional news, social media, or fake news websites, has no basis in fact, but is presented as being factually accurate.

Claire Wardle of First Draft News, a project “to fight miss- and disinformation online” by Google Labs, identifies seven types of fake news:

From “no intention to cause harm but has potential to fool,” to new content that is 100% false, designed to deceive and do harm.”

Our society is built on the ability to distinguish fact from fiction. What we believe affects how we make decisions. So, what happens to our businesses, government, communities if we can’t trust what we read, hear or see?

Today, anybody who has a computer and access to the internet can technically produce a “deepfake” video, says John Villasenor, professor of electrical engineering at the University of California, Los Angeles. But the danger of that is “the technology can be used to make people believe something is real when it is not.

The word combines the terms “deep learning” and “fake,” and is a form of artificial intelligence. It is an AI assisted audio and video manipulation. Someone can steal your voice and make it say whatever they wanted. They can put you in a place you’ve never been or replace the face and expression by those of another. You can create on social media an army of accounts of realistic photos of people who don’t exist and spread whatever you want. It is very dangerous when people can’t discern reality. Are we there?

Jesus said, “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life.” In a time like no other where do we turn for truth, for good and truthful news? We have become accustomed to seeing fake news or news that has been slanted to sway us one way or another every day. But I want to tell you––the word gospel means GOOD NEWS! What news are we talking about? The event that defines our faith as Christ Followers is the resurrection of Jesus!

For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.”

– John 3:16

So because of God’s love for you and me, he sent his only son to be born as a man (yet remained fully God) and willingly died so that we could have life everlasting. Because of His love, he paid the punishment for our sins.

The Gospel of Luke chapter 2 tells us that Angels appeared to the shepherds and said, “Don’t be afraid! I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David! And you will recognize him by this sign: You will find a baby wrapped snugly in strips of cloth, lying in a manger.”

In the Gospels of Matthew, Luke and John, you can read about the life, death and resurrection. Jesus knew what would occur, so he told his disciples he would be killed and would rise after three days. It happened just as he said, and the disciples fully not understanding went to the tomb where he was buried. It was empty and the stone rolled open! You might find it interesting that fake news isn’t new. At the time according to Matthew, the Roman soldiers who had been guarding Jesus’ tomb were bribed to spread a fake news story.

“Some of the guards went into the city and reported to the chief priests everything that had happened. When the chief priests had met with the elders and devised a plan, they gave the soldiers a large sum of money, telling them, “You are to say, and ‘His disciples came during the night and stole him away while we were asleep.’ If this report gets to the governor, we will satisfy him and keep you out of trouble.” So the soldiers took the money and did as they were instructed. And this story has been widely circulated among the Jews to this very day.”

– Matthew 28:11-15

In a world that is ever-changing, I’m here to say “Jesus never changes.” Hebrews 13:8 says, Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Good News of God’s Word is something that you can depend on because it’s Truth.. The word of God is powerful, so much that it will change your life.

“Satan, who is the god of this world, have blinded the minds of those who don’t believe. They are unable to see the glorious light of the Good News. They don’t understand this message about the glory of Christ, who is the exact likeness of God.”

– 2 Corinthians 4:4

For there is going to come a time when people won’t listen to the truth but will go around looking for teachers who will tell them just what they want to hear.” 

– 2 Timothy 4:3

I became a follower of Christ on an Easter Sunday many years ago. Won’t you consider the Good News he offers you?

“For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.”

– Romans 6:23

“If you declare with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”

– Romans 10:9