"Before the president co-opted that phrase to mean news that he doesn't like, 'fake news' meant exactly that," the "Daily Show" host says.
Trevor Noah set the record straight on what "fake news" is on "The Daily Show" Wednesday night, when he dove into how Russia used social media to spread false information during the 2016 presidential election.
"Before the president co-opted that phrase to mean news that he doesn't like, 'fake news' meant exactly that -- deliberately false stories posing as news, especially in non-traditional news sources, like digital media," he said.
Google News, Facebook and now Twitter have all been linked to "bots" and algorithms that have perpetuated the spreading of stories that are either downright made up or misleading. And now, the New York Times has reported that "there is evidence that Twitter may have been used more extensively than Facebook in the Russian influence campaign last year."
"Who would have thought we'd be living in a world where Snapchat is the only legitimate source of news?" Noah joked. "And good luck if you're a slow reader. 'North Korea is about to -- ahhh, it's gone! It's gone! What was it gonna say?!'"
Noah also referenced a recent San Francisco Chronicle reported that stated around 10 million people saw Russia-linked ads on Facebook before and after the 2016 election. The ads -- which were intended to promote divisive messages to stir up outrage and increase the racial divide in America -- targeted two key swing states, Michigan and Wisconsin, which were critical to Trump's victory last November.
"This is unbelievable," Noah said. "Even the Russians knew they had to campaign in Wisconsin. Even them. You know what I'm thinking? If Hillary runs again, maybe she should collude with some Russians."
"But regardless of your politics," he added, "the reason you should care about fake news online is because it's not just about Russians meddling in U.S. elections, it's about Russians working to divide everyone."
Noah noted that the perpetuation of fake news online is a major problem because two-thirds of news consumers admitted in a recent Reuters Institute survey that they get their news from social media.
"The other third gets it from Steve Harvey, so it's bad all around," Noah joked.