How fake news does real harm | Stephanie Busari

How fake news does real harm | Stephanie Busari

I want to tell you a story about a girl. But I can’t tell you her real name. So let’s just call her Hadiza. Hadiza is 20. She’s shy, but she has a beautiful smile
that lights up her face. But she’s in constant pain. And she will likely be on medication
for the rest of her life. Do you want to know why? Hadiza is a Chibok girl, and on April 14, 2014, she was kidnapped by Boko Haram terrorists. She managed to escape, though, by jumping off the truck
that was carrying the girls. But when she landed,
she broke both her legs, and she had to crawl on her tummy
to hide in the bushes. She told me she was terrified
that Boko Haram would come back for her. She was one of 57 girls who would escape
by jumping off trucks that day. This story, quite rightly, caused ripples around the world. People like Michelle Obama,
Malala and others lent their voices in protest, and at about the same time —
I was living in London at the time — I was sent from London to Abuja
to cover the World Economic Forum that Nigeria was hosting
for the first time. But when we arrived, it was clear
that there was only one story in town. We put the government under pressure. We asked tough questions
about what they were doing to bring these girls back. Understandably, they weren’t too happy
with our line of questioning, and let’s just say we received
our fair share of “alternative facts.” (Laughter) Influential Nigerians
were telling us at the time that we were naïve, we didn’t understand
the political situation in Nigeria. But they also told us that the story of the Chibok girls was a hoax. Sadly, this hoax narrative has persisted, and there are still people
in Nigeria today who believe that the Chibok girls
were never kidnapped. Yet I was talking to people like these — devastated parents, who told us that on the day
Boko Haram kidnapped their daughters, they ran into the Sambisa Forest
after the trucks carrying their daughters. They were armed with machetes,
but they were forced to turn back because Boko Haram had guns. For two years, inevitably,
the news agenda moved on, and for two years, we didn’t hear much
about the Chibok girls. Everyone presumed they were dead. But in April last year, I was able to obtain this video. This is a still from the video that Boko Haram filmed as a proof of life, and through a source,
I obtained this video. But before I could publish it, I had to travel
to the northeast of Nigeria to talk to the parents, to verify it. I didn’t have to wait
too long for confirmation. One of the mothers,
when she watched the video, told me that if she could have reached
into the laptop and pulled our her child from the laptop, she would have done so. For those of you who are parents,
like myself, in the audience, you can only imagine the anguish that that mother felt. This video would go on to kick-start
negotiation talks with Boko Haram. And a Nigerian senator told me
that because of this video they entered into those talks, because they had long presumed
that the Chibok girls were dead. Twenty-one girls were freed
in October last year. Sadly, nearly 200 of them
still remain missing. I must confess that I have not been
a dispassionate observer covering this story. I am furious when I think
about the wasted opportunities to rescue these girls. I am furious when I think about
what the parents have told me, that if these were daughters
of the rich and the powerful, they would have been found much earlier. And I am furious that the hoax narrative, I firmly believe, caused a delay; it was part of the reason
for the delay in their return. This illustrates to me
the deadly danger of fake news. So what can we do about it? There are some very smart people, smart engineers at Google and Facebook, who are trying to use technology
to stop the spread of fake news. But beyond that, I think
everybody here — you and I — we have a role to play in that. We are the ones who share the content. We are the ones who share
the stories online. In this day and age, we’re all publishers, and we have responsibility. In my job as a journalist, I check, I verify. I trust my gut, but I ask tough questions. Why is this person telling me this story? What do they have to gain
by sharing this information? Do they have a hidden agenda? I really believe that we must all start
to ask tougher questions of information that we discover online. Research shows that some of us
don’t even read beyond headlines before we share stories. Who here has done that? I know I have. But what if we stopped taking information
that we discover at face value? What if we stop to think
about the consequence of the information that we pass on and its potential to incite
violence or hatred? What if we stop to think
about the real-life consequences of the information that we share? Thank you very much for listening. (Applause)


100 thoughts on “How fake news does real harm | Stephanie Busari”

  • I love all the fuckwits in the comments who didn't even watch the video.

    'Waah, CNN is fake news because they say things that Trump doesn't like'

    You shitheads are useful idiots, disinformation agents, and by throwing around your wild claims, you distract from REAL issues. Unfounded conspiracy theories and deliberate lies get peddled and spread constantly, yet you chucklefucks are more worried about differing opinions.

  • I don't understand what these girls that was kidnapped has anything to do with fake news? stupid argument for fake news doing harm when she could just have said: fake news = Donald Trump becomes president.

  • Fake News = Mainstream Media. You've manipulated the people long enough we'll find our own news sources thank you.

  • BayAreaEventDesigns says:

    what about the boys only when they got the girls is when it went viral the girls were returned the boys were raped and murdered get your facts straight Mens Lives Matter

  • How about Sarin and VX to ISIL. 19 Myis Universidad Ballica Kampusu the most heavily guarded college in Turkey.. In 1973 a US Marine was guarding Seabees burying Sarin and VX rocket systems in the dunes of Turkey. He doesn't think Assad is gassing his own people. The college has 12+ armored personnel carriers and air defense systems on the beach next to their airstrip, obvious photoshopped areas of the facility, underground entrances, garbage they can't or won't throw away, which also resembles US weapons crates. The old port north of the college and the recent tailings match the description given by the Sargent. Google maps shows these things fairly well.

  • Thank you TED for finally posting a talk on a serious issue – two serious issues in fact – presented by someone who is sane and competent. Let's have more talks like this and fewer by Westerners pursuing their petty social justice causes.

  • On an apparent not-so-important side-note, 10,000 boys were also kidnapped, converted or killed by slit-throats, shooting them while they were sleeping, or locked in rooms and burnt to death.

  • Thomas Thirlwall says:

    you idiots in the comment section jumping to conclusions when in reality this was about governments covering up atrocities in their states like the example in Nigeria this woman used or when Russia Today (sponsored by the Russian Government btw) was covering up for the Chechen Republic for the death camps they set up to persecute gay men. i hate you all

  • Pepe Stock is Soaring says:

    Where were all these social justice warriors after the Rotherham Rape Report came out? Nowhere, because the fake news of the MSM tell people that they are bigots for speaking out against Islam

  • Yea, fake news brought us into the Iraq War, Libya, Syria, and if you want to go back through false flags, Reichstag fire, Gulf of Tonkin, and even 9/11. Govt "news" aka 4th branch, aka MSM is propaganda no matter what country youre in. Question Everything! Listen to all, follow none

  • Andreas erik says:

    Yes! The Mainstream-media in the west is really bad, and the government to. In Sweden its start to look more like a totallitarian regim.

    Watch Tim Pool report about this. Watch Tucker Carlson to.

  • To be honest, I do not believe that what she had said should be considered fake news. What she's taking about is more about failing journalism, the lack of awareness and poor intelligence on news source.

    AND also, lack of action by people.

    Naming it fake news is already pushing it.

  • 吃面忘了要馍 says:

    I never 100% trust some medias even they are really famous!they are not telling you the truth, but just wanna catch your eyes!

  • Philipp Schalli says:

    Last Year German TV constantly said that migrants are less violent. This is fake news, making people questioning and sympathising with extreme right ir left wing. That's the problem

  • To the majority of commentators here, if all the news outlets produce only fake news where should I get real or honest news?

  • Aamina Hasan says:

    trump much? I'm pretty sure most of us got the term 'fake news' from when he started calling out fox news.

  • Ben Cochrane says:

    I've wasted 5 minutes listening to a story guilting me into agreeing with her points, rather than her using arguments.

    I wasted a further 5 minutes writing a comment pointing out the hypocrisy in her speech.

    I wasted more time complaining about the manipulative speakers on TED, and the obvious agenda their organisers have.

    I spent less than a second clicking Unsubscribe. Time well spent.

  • how about u spoiled Americans get off this channel? if all u do is complaining about everything u see here, get out.
    it feels like u come here only to get ur own version of life verified and not to learn something new. basic human decentcy . thats all u have to be capable of.

  • Archibald Belanus says:

    I first thought "yet again a Ted video that retards massively disliked for no reason". When you take a look at some of their videos, that was a fair assumption. But now I've finished it, it's just… meh. There is one bit on relevant information at the beginning I didn't knew about the nigerian schoolgirls (that are now free, no one talks about that), but the rest is empty

  • all this outrage and not a word about the boys. more than 10X as many boys taken, but not even you care. so who is fake news again?

  • crushthedemoniac says:

    the biggest fake news with the worst impact of all time is … *drumroll …the Bible or RELIGION in general.. ppl takin fantasy too serious. Damn right madame.

  • Martyna Paukštytė says:

    Why are people disliking this video? She's advocating to think about the news you share and the effects it has if it's false. What's wrong with this message?

  • Hang The Bankers says:

    The fake mainstream news media are the ones that sell every war based on lies.
    So yes, the mainstream media does plenty of harm.

  • Skye Phillips says:

    The term "fake news" has become far too broad. It has come to mean "news that I disagree with" rather than referring to twisting and misrepresenting facts to manipulate the audience.

  • the news. they always talk about issues but never dive into why we have these issues. seems like they spread fear more than solutions.
    then the other day you have a poll against trump. worded in a way that as if they proved he shared classified information. rather you answered yes or no your still saying he leaked. that's a type of munipulation. I would much rather watch a real journalist. the main media just has a bunch of people talking about what pops up on the screen in front of them. they aren't out there gathering their own information making their own informed opinions. just like the main media pushing the whole Assud sarin attack with no evidence. one thing I can't stand is people pointing fingers but yet can't give proof and when giving the opportunity to investigate doesn't. I understand it's not the job of the news to investigate but it should be their job not to spread information that's isn't proven to be true as if it's true. that's what liars and cheats do. then we have all these horrible topics of fashion and celebrity news like that's even news. just a bunch of ignorant nonsense that in my opinion is not worth even knowing. but it's gets them ratings because to many people are probably more in tuned with that type of news than news that actually matters. any news that's isn't trying to give us the entire truth is fake news and most main media outlets fit that description. trusting the main media news is like trusting bankers. I'd have to be ignorant to trust either one.

  • Wow, I expected a water-is-wet kinda talk and response. It's bewildering how people have come to distrust media that has informed our parents and grandparents, simply because they report on issues that some of us happen to disagree with. I see what happened with this kidnapping, but americans equating it to their own news troubled really need to re-examine themselves. American and Nigerian governments? Quite a different discussion. The talk has a good lesson to it though. Cross-reference.

  • unsurprising that trumpets dislike this video without watching because there's a person of color speaking and it is critical of fake news, which trumpets are far more susceptible to since they still use Facebook.

  • Yeah, like the media that says that mass immigration in Europe isn't bad and all immigrants are poor victims and media which does not report about crime if it is done by immigrants because "they fear rise of islamophobia". That is harmful

  • She is talking about developing skepticism and a sense of inquiry, skills every adult should have. She is talking about taking responsibility for your actions, including forwarding items that come into your world. We are played as dupes by the left and the right, by the Russians and Wall Street, by big food, big pharma, and religion. And you are an unpaid shill when you forward fake news – f/k/a LIES – on to others without taking time to examine it. The 400+ dislikes show that her message struck too close to home.

  • We have been saying this right from time that the Kidnap was an arrangement. How will 250 girls be kidnapped it doesn't even sound realistic.

  • Richard Lazarus says:

    I admire Trump's power of influencing the weak minded. If this video would not have mentioned the statement "fake news", it would have not gotten this many dislikes. Educate yourself. A single man cannot cannot be right when the whole wold calls against his alternative bullshit facts. Please use your logic.

  • John Trauger says:

    Once again a Tedd Talk right on the money.

    What Ms. Busari only hints at is there is no monopoly on fake news. We are well aware of conservative fake news from the recent US elections. here's some leftward fake news from the past:

    Treyvon Martin was shot in the back.
    Martin's killer was white
    Michael brown was shot with his hands up saying "don't shoot!"
    Donald Trump had a wild sexy party in a Moscow hotel room with female russian agents.

    The source differs. Liberal fake news is delivers alongside legitimate news from legitimate sources. But it's still fake and still dangerous.

    What if the entire "Trump-Russia connection" story is fake news? A special prosecutor has just been named to look into this. What does that say for the stability of the US if one has been deployed based on the partisan complaints of a party that legitimately lost an election?

  • Joannot Fampionona says:

    Currently more than 1/3 dislikes, Can anyone explain to me why is it so bad to fight against abduction?

  • Scott Vignali says:

    The comments here show me that the problem isn't CNN or FOX… it's us. Ready to point the finger and get angry at anyone or any entity, launching off on rants as soon as anyone disagrees with us. Certain that we're the ones who are right. What's needed is face-to-face dialogue. If you don't like the media then get off your damn computer and talk to your fellow citizens. The less we interact, the more extreme and divided we become. Guess who wins.

  • I dont trust facebook or googles techniques for countering fake news as what news is fake is inherrently decided by those companies agendas.

  • So…Emotional story equals Google and face book will protect ups from Fakes news (AKA free speech)? Giving giant monopolies, in bed with the government, the power to decide what is "truth" sounds like a great idea. Nothing could possibly go wrong there right? Notice fake news was never a problem until the ratings started sliding for the major news outlets (probably due to all the times they where caught pushing fake news). Weather it's calling for parental warnings on albums, trigger warnings at collages, or fighting the internet and it's "fake news" all it's really doing it promoting the stifling of ideas. I remember when TED talks used to actually have good content and not just promote BS agendas with touchy feely stories attached. You guys suck now, I hope something better destroys you and takes your place.

  • Leonidas GGG says:

    When mainstream media just repeats whatever we find on Facebook without no investigation into the matter, you know Journalism is dead.

  • eclecticaspie says:

    This is why I fact-check even things my friends post and let them know if they're unknowingly sharing fake news. Snopes and Politifact are your friends, people!

  • I think it's remarkable how a term, used by governments to countering and overshadowing the people's understanding of the governments own fake news, can hit home with hundreds of million of people who then starts to become blind, to anything labeled "fakenews" by our governments.
    Is that stupidity? I don't know. It's puzzling to think about in any case.
    Behavior like that shouldn't exist.

  • Trường Ca Hành says:

    99% of this entire comment section should be reported! Did any even watch this video? Does any single person out there has one intelligent comment on the story this woman has told? Her message? I’m so upset you can all be kidnapped by Boko Haram for all I care.

  • 939Productions says:

    I like the incentive but the fact that someone may decide if something is fake news is much more dangerous then fake news itself I'm afraid.

  • Tauriel Daughter of Mirkwood says:

    so does this speakers definition of "fake news" also include the mainstream propaganda outlets,….my apologies, "news agencies" like CNN, MSNBC and FOX NEWS that have so far, never, ever been on the record of lying to us if you ignore the wars in Lybia, Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, "Russian meddling in the US election", telling us that "regime change" would turn out well etc? No wonder Wikileaks had to replace you by doing actual journalism.

  • GMR Transcription Services Inc says:

    It's a shocking, but enlightening narrative of the missing girls amid the terror strife in Nigeria. Shame on the mainstream media for doctoring news that suits their purpose…if this is not yellow journalism, then what is ??

  • No More Nuclear says:

    Good grief Charlie Brown. America is in trouble when people like her have a plate form on FAKE TED TALKS.

  • ATC Australian Teachers Chronicle says:

    If the Nigerian government believes what they see on YT without any fact checking and believed it to be a hoax, there's something else going on.
    You were fed BS, and you swallowed it whole. Sorry.

  • Fake news started buy corrupt journalist who will make up stories for the sake of great stories to attract their readers. As videos and cameras became more accessible as hand held device. People used it either proof or fabricated stories. Fake news is just didn’t happen on computer era. In fact it’s been happening since man learn to write and read. It’s a powerful way to manipulate or control people. But the use of technology made it spread much convenient and easier. The era may have change but fundamentally the same objective to control people. It was once said that the outcome of war is how fast information being delivered and internet did exactly just that. Social media is a type of forum where people gathered waiting for a peace of information.

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