This commentary on the 2018 special issue of the Journal of American Folklore, “Fake News: Definitions and Approaches,” argues that digital networks have enabled fake news by amplification. Fake news by amplification occurs when small-scale events become amplified through the convergent actions of everyday users, mass media gatekeepers, and social media algorithms. Events that are amplified risk becoming distorted as they circulate, with users supplying their own context and interpretations. The resulting fake news is difficult to counter because it goes beyond questions of fact and enters the realm of interpretation, enabled by widespread networked belief.

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