Dissertation Topics on Fake News

Fake news is a kind of propaganda or yellow journalism that deliberately seeks to misinform the public and spread hoaxes to damage the reputation of a person, entity or agency for political or financial gain. Fake news is distributed with the aim of increasing readership in order to please advertisers.

1) Was Fake News Responsible for Donald Trump Winning the 2016 Presidential Campaign?

Aim: It has been found that fake news shared in the run-up to the 2016 United States presidential election was heavily biased in favour of Donald Trump, the current president of that country. Hence, the aim of this research is to explore how Donald Trump used fake news during the 2016 presidential campaign and to what extent it contributed to his election victory.
Key Source: Allcott, H., and Gentzkow, M., (2017), ‘Social Media and Fake News in the 2016 Election,’ Journal of Economic Perspectives, 31 (2), pp.211-236

2) An Exploration of the Relationship between Fake News and Advertising Revenue

Aim: Fake news can be used as a means of making advertising campaigns more believable. This is because it is a platform for presenting ‘alternative facts’ that tie-in to advertising campaigns. However, there has been some backlash against this practice in recent years with both Google and Facebook banning false advertising from their advertising streams. Thus, the relationship between advertising and fake news is worthy of investigation.
Key Source: Turban, E., Outland, J., King, D., Lee, J.K., Liang, T.P., and Turban, D.C., (2017), Electronic Commerce 2018: A Managerial and Social Networks Perspective, 9th Ed., New York: Springer

3) An Exploration of the Dynamics of the Relationship between Fake News and Social Media

Aim: It has been observed that fake news has increased in the age of social media as it has a new platform for distribution, with social media sites being used to bolster the claims made by fake news. Significantly, it has been found that fake news has the power to influence social media either positively or negatively, something that needs further research.
Key Source: Chadwick, A., (2017), The Hybrid Media System: Politics and Power, 2nd Ed., Oxford: Oxford University Press

4) Does Fake News contribute to the Rise of Islamic Extremism?

Aim: It is widely acknowledged that internet and social media channels have played an integral role in recruiting young people to Islamic extremist causes and organisations, such as ISIS. In this context it has also been found that fake news can contribute to this recruitment process and spread extremist discourses. Hence, this research will explore how fake news can be used to bolster political and religious extremism.
Key Source: Alava, S., Frau-Meigs, D., and Hassan, G., (2017), Youth and Violent Extremism on Social Media: Mapping the Research, Paris: UNESCO

5) The Evolution and Development of Fake News from the Nineteenth Century to the Present Day

Aim: Fake news is not a new phenomenon. In fact, it has been used by media outlets to influence public perceptions throughout history. Fake news was first widely distributed through the print media in the nineteenth century, most notably in the case of the Great Moon Hoax of 1835 and when yellow journalism publishers goaded the United States into the Spanish-American War. Hence, this research will explore how the history of fake news has led to what we understand as fake news today.
Key Source: Soll, J., (2016), ‘The Long and Brutal History of Fake News,’ Politico Magazine, Available at: https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2016/12/fake-news-history-long-violent-214535 (Accessed 12 Jan 2018)

6) How does the Public Perceive Fake News?

Aim: This dissertation aims to explore the public response to fake news. It has been found that fake news has a significant influence on public opinion, especially during national elections. It is significant that it was found that the public was more likely to have viewed fake news stories about the 2016 presidential election than real ones. Thus, public policy needs to take these facts into account when cracking down on fake news in future.
Key Source: Tambini, D., (2017), Fake News: Public Policy Responses: Media Policy Brief 20, London: Media Policy Project, London School of Economics and Political Science

7) An Exploration of the Relationship between Fake News and Internet Censorship in China

Aim:During the United States 2016 presidential election the fake news generated spread to China. The Chinese government used this fake news as an excuse to increase internet censorship in China. It has also encouraged Chinese citizens to report any website they believe is reporting or spreading fake news. While internet censorship has always taken place in China, it could be argued that fake news gives the Chinese government an excuse to carry on with and increase internet censorship.
Key Source: Benney, J., (2015), ‘“The Corpses were Emotionally Stable”: Agency and Passivity on the Chinese Internet,’ in Marolt, P., and Herold, D.K., eds., China Online: Locating Society in Online Spaces, Abingdon: Routledge

8) Is Fake News Damaging to Democracy?

Aim: Because of the role of fake news in promoting the cause of certain political candidates or vilifying others by propagating false information about them it can be argued that the practices of fake news, when used for political gain, damage the fundamental principles of democracy. However, if action is taken to mitigate the threat of fake news it could be argued that this violates the democratic principle of free speech. Thus, it can be suggested that fake news undermines the democratic system by allowing candidates to win elections on false pretences or violating the democratic principle of free speech.
Key Source: Tyler, G.R., (2018), Billionaire Democracy: The Hijacking of the American Political System, Dallas: BenBella Books Inc.

15/01/2018