Information has power and meaning, but uniformity in the design of this information, both in shape and medium, complicates our ability to compare. Most fake news is designed on the basis of the idea that the user will not be overly critical regarding the validity of its contents. Although the form in which the ”news” is presented implies that it is supplying trustworthy information, this information in reality often turns out to be unsubstantiated, taken out of context or accompanied by other material. This must lead to the conclusion that the given information is often misleading and, in any case, must be treated as being untrustworthy regarding its subject. Many users aren’t capable of recognizing this limited validity or even the outright lies transmitted by this information.
The content masquerades the invalid information, even presenting it as being correct. This can be construed as not only textually but also visually lying to the user. For instance: recreated brands that make us of photoshopped footage, manipulated information graphics or use false sources, whereby falsehoods (using visual footage) that affect certain emotions by the user are deliberately created. The given content works counterintuitive, as it is created in a textual and visual hierarchy, which renders the content in a form that implies authority and accuracy. For example, the configuration of the information on a given site can implicate interrelation between (in reality unconnected) occurrences. For instance: white space and black letters can mimic an (academic) book design and in so use the empty space to pre-emptively guide the user through the interface of the website, thereby implying something which the material in itself might not ascertain. The interface is adjusted to the users behaviour or convictions, for example in the way information is interpreted, in what order it is perceived and in what kind of context it is being placed. Think of the information that is presented, when googling an image, by dragging it in the search bar. This gives you a search result of images that are seen as similar by Google, who bases this similarity on an algorithm that attached key words to the googled image.
Search results contribute to a Google search profile, which will influence the results of prospective search questions. It will create limited results, which are specific to your profile. This can result in a discriminating or racist profile, as well as an altruistic one. It might result in connections which are completely out of context of the image the user tries to find. These factors are beyond the control of the persons producing the content: in so this can end up benefiting third parties, using the content for their own goals (think of fake news, advertising, politics) not intended by the creators. The user’s ability to control the web invokes the question: is there a need for information to be accurate or does it just have to project an appearance of accuracy. The current model used to create a notion of trust is to copy, with permission, the printed material which journalists or academics have published. The hypermediated design has become the immediacy the user is trapped by, when confronted with the web. The defined space of the windowed frame of the computer is exaggerating the tension and outlook through which information is perceived.
The awareness of the digital medium has created a rhetoric awareness, that must be used in the design of information, if the goal is to create transparency within the relationship between reader and content. The usage of social media as an interface for news information should not influence and control the published footage. It should also create rules, that sharply define the boundaries between true and false.