Tony Hall, the director-general of the BBC, has urged journalists and editors to tackle any suggestion that his and other news organizations are responsible for "fake news," and revealed the corporation's plans for tackling it.
In an address given to the U.K.-based Society of Editors earlier this week, Hall called the term "the weapon of choice for repressive regimes everywhere," after the term "fake news" went mainstream during the 2016 presidential election campaign.
Fake news is the modern phenomenon of deliberate falsehoods or fiction masked as news circulating on the internet. The term has been "used by the Kremlin to dismiss the Salisbury Novichok attacks, and by powerful lobbies who counter objective facts with the assertion that they're all made up," he said, according to a transcript of his speech on the BBC's website.
"The fake news tag has given street cred to mass disbelief. That doesn't just threaten journalism everywhere. It threatens people everywhere," Hall added. He said that so-called fake news originated in a small town in Macedonia, where online stories were made up, before the term went mainstream during the 2016 U.S. presidential election.