If you've been on the Internet recently, you know that there’s been a lot of talk about “fake news” stories. It’s become such a big, threatening thing that many people are worried about - so much that even Facebook has decided to get involved. Everyone is freaking out, unsure how much of what they're reading is actually true.

But here’s the thing…fake news has been around for a while.

I know, I know, it’s a real shocker. We’ve been being lied to this whole time?! Well, yes. As long as “news” has been around, there have been people who aren’t exactly trying their best to get the truth out there. Think about it like this – not all journalists, news anchors, etc. are going to have your best interests in mind while they’re doing their jobs. It’s all about money. Some news sources are going to be more focused on telling a story that will get attention, regardless of whether it’s one hundred percent accurate. And I can guarantee that some especially biased news sources are going to be more intent on getting their opinions out there (disguised as news) rather than actual objective, impartial news stories. (Did someone say Buzzfeed?)

Essentially, fake news is nothing new.

However, there is no denying that people are more aware of this epidemic now than they ever were before. Like I said, even Facebook is trying to get in on the conversation. But just because Facebook is trying to “help” us differentiate fake from real news, doesn’t mean we should let them. Facebook is a large corporation with its own intentions and biases. Who says it couldn’t be trying to filter what news gets shown on its site? How do we know they are truly looking out for what’s best for us? The ONLY way we can assure we aren’t falling prey to fake news is to educate and look out for ourselves.

It’s a harsh world. Despite what we may think, not everyone is looking out for us. Fake news is definitely something that needs to be identified and stopped. But that doesn’t mean we should be relying on the "news outlets" themselves to tell us what to believe or not. We have to rely on ourselves. Don’t let someone else tell you what to believe - go out, do some research and decide for yourself. Fake news is everywhere around us, and that’s a scary thing; but now is the perfect time to stop letting the media influence our beliefs and start deciding them for ourselves.