"Today we have fake sites, bots, trolls – things that regenerate themselves, reinforcing opinions with certain algorithms and we have to learn to deal with them.”
--Chancellor Merkel in a public comment this week.
There is a growing trend in the usage of fake news within the German news media, intellectual forums, and political talks.
What's going on?
Up until the 1930s....a lot of "swing" on public voting was accomplished by local newspapers who would take a side with one particular party. Success in an election was based on hype by the newspapers of Germany.
In the 1930s.....along came radio, and the newspapers whined about this new toy which seemed to take away half of the dynamics on German politics.
In the 1960s....along came TV, and the radio/newspaper crowd whined about this new toy which took away a lot of the authority that was enjoyed by the newspapers and radio personalities.
Around a decade ago....along came the internet and you could sense that German TV, radio and newspapers were annoyed by this new toy.
So, in the last three years....here comes social media, which threatens the regular internet crowd, the TV news figures, the newspapers, and the remains of the radio commentary.
If you look at the primary users of the TV political forums....it's mostly those Germans over the age of forty. If you look at the primary users of Facebook, Huff-Post, Twitter, etc.....it's mostly those under the age of forty.....who don't frequent state-run TV very much.
With the right platform and message.....one could probably go and attract somewhere around fifteen to twenty percent of German society now. This disrupts the common dynamics accepted over the past couple of decades.
The threat of disrupting fake or false news? If I were state-run TV or the German newspaper crowd....I'd be worried that as much as the social media message might be fake.....a fair portion of the regular news might fall into the fake or misleading category as well.
How this German battle will play out? It's hard to say. Merkel might bring up some commission to advise her on this. Or maybe she'll just draft the news media to identify the fake news themselves.....which would make most of the public laugh over the accusations.
In the end, as much as fake, fraudulent and misleading news might be an issue.....the public may decide that fake, fraudulent, and misleading politics are also an issue, and trigger massive negativity about the Berlin political game.