Fake news isn't new, it's been around a long time. Why is it so prevalent in today's world?
In the past, news came at a slower rate and more than likely came from a reputable source. Here is a visual representation from Rose-Stockwell's How We Broke Democracy:
However, social media has increasingly become the place people turn to for news. From the same article, here is a visual representation of how we get news today:
This graphic from The Pew Research Center shows how the number of people turning to social media for news has increased in 2017.
There is no denying that social media has played a role in the spread of fake news. Here is an example of a common meme on Facebook which highlights the importance of fact checking. No source is listed to back up these "facts." Most of them are misleading, only somewhat true or completely false. Fact-checking sites like Politifact can help determine if memes and news stories contain false information.