Fake News as a Post-factual Reproduction of the Postmodern Digital SocietyPedja Ašanın Gole, Vida Sruk
This chapter analyses a part of postmodern digital society characterized by unbridled communication on online social networks, the spread of disinformation, fake news, alternative facts and post-truth. In the context of globalization, which transformed the distinction between public and private, political and commercial, social and market, in digital society we are also witnessing the processes of digital commodification and mediatisation of everything as a result of prevailing neoliberal ideology. This is manifested using technologically advanced forms of constructing personal biographies, online staging of an individual’s public in private image, the individual’s Potemkin villages. More than truth and credible facts, it seems that this digital age is constructed of interpretations of reality dependent on the context and falsified news which we become aware of only after the disclosure of the truth; that is ‘posttruth’. Strongly diverse ideas, which in the context of the gradual shaping of the often-incoherent term ‘postmodern society’ have been in process of development by a wider scientific discourse for almost sixty years now, contain the tendencies of ‘post-factual’ in many elements. Although postmodernism first positioned itself as an emancipatory way of freeing people from oppressive narratives and abuse of power, the mediatisation of society and of the world in a digital society, and the emergence of media populism in the form of counterfeit, fake news, alternative facts and the post-true, is a typical example of reverse process, the gradual and persistent farewell of reality, which is not emancipatory at all. Through the prism of post-modern escape from objective truth, reality, language games and the attitude to freedom, we explain why fake news is, actually, the post-factual reproduction of a postmodern digital society. The facts in a postmodern society are in fact social constructs, and only relative truth exists, because objective truth is a serious ambiguous concept.