Posted on: May 4, 2017

The words “fake news” have grown extremely popular since the recent election, but fake news has been a problem for much longer than that. In fact, vast swaths of the population are taken in by fake news and misinformation on a daily basis. It’s nearly impossible to spend a good amount of time online without coming across some bit of false information, whether it’s in the form of a meme, a tweet, or a bona fide news article. The sheer volume of fake news out there is making it increasingly difficult for even the most educated minds to immediately discern the true from the false. It’s practically an epidemic, but what does it have to do with you and your business? A lot!

Fake News: A Big Data Problem

It seems like there are a lot of “V’s” that are used to characterize big data… volume, variety, velocity… but when it comes to fake news, the big challenge is data veracity. Fake news is truly a big data veracity problem. It doesn’t make a difference how well we move, process, store, or secure our data and information if that information is simply incorrect! While this is annoying and confusing in the world of news and social media, it can prove disastrous for businesses that are trying to make sense of data in order to make smart, well-informed decisions for their enterprises.

Judith Hurwitz, Alan Nugget, Fern Halper, and Marcia Kaufman have written a book entitled “Big Data for Dummies.” In this book, the authors describe veracity as being a question of how accurate the data actually is in terms of predicting business value, and whether or not the results of big data analytics make any sense. In other words, the data needs to have the ability to be verified on accuracy AND context.  Patricia Saporito, a data and analytics thought leader, shares a similar sentiment. According to Saporito, veracity is more than just data quality, but also about data understandability.

Unfortunately, fake news is very understandable, and if you run an analysis on the fake news, it will probably even make sense! This means that even experts in the big data department have struggled to really lock down how to guarantee the core of veracity, and that is truthfulness. This brings us to the phenomenon of misinformation dynamics. This describes more than just mere accidents or human errors; it involves the intentional distribution of misinformation, or fake news. Once fake news or wrong information is inputted, big data will work in the only way it knows how: to break down the information it has been provided with (unfortunately, misinformation) and provide insights on what it finds. There’s no way for big data analytics programs to distinguish between the real thing and fake news on their own.

Eliminate Fake News from the Equation

If you don’t want fake news infiltrating your business intelligence (and we’re quite sure you don’t), you’re going to have to step up your game a bit. Staying on top of the type of data that gets inputted is the only way to ensure that the analytics and information coming out is any good, and that it will actually benefit your business. Here are two tips for keeping fake news out:

Security – Security is of the utmost importance when it comes to your business intelligence data. Hackers and cyberterrorists may try to find ways to input false information into a given business’s data warehouses if those warehouses aren’t protected. Make appropriate use of firewalls, encryption, password protection, clearance levels, and any other security measures you deem necessary.

Look to AI – Facebook has announced that it’s looking at artificial intelligence as a means of recognizing and flagging fake news. Although AI-driven data veracity is still a work in progress, we believe it’s the future of protecting our businesses against misinformation.

Learn more about big data security and how to keep your data free of errors and fake news by talking to the experts at Uncommon Solutions.