Fake news can lead to bad investment decisions

By Dale Gillham. Published at Feb 12, 2021, in Features

The term “fake news” became mainstream during the 2016 US election campaign, as false or heavily biased stories were distributed on hundreds of websites and across social media.

This issue has now become a global problem, as it challenges the way we share information and perceive the world around us.

Only yesterday, I typed into Google the search term “trending stock market news” and I was surprised to see a listing with the title “Amazon releasing a new platform”.

After clicking on the link, I was taken to a news website, which led with the statement “Amazon launches their newest platform to help families become wealthier”. I started reading the article with interest until I got to the point where it stated that Amazon could transform anyone into a millionaire within 3 to 4 months. At that point, my interest changed to one of suspicion.

Rather than being a service delivered by Amazon, it was a fake news site with propaganda designed to misled investors.

Late last year there was also a questionable website using the reputation of Dick Smith to entice people to trade their hard-earned money to generate huge returns. Of course, it was fake news designed to take money from hard working individuals.

So, while we are all responsible for the decisions we make, I have to question whether this type of marketing is fair?

While we are all familiar with the statement buyer beware, this can present challenges if a website looks credible and uses the credibility of a company or an individual to attract people to buy goods and services.

That said, if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Therefore, when it comes to the stock market, my advice is to always use credible news sites to get your information and to always check who you are dealing with.

If a website is asking you to invest or subscribe to an investment product, do your research to confirm if they are licensed in Australia, as the regulators will have little recourse in helping you if something does turn out to be fake news.

Dale Gillham is Chief Analyst at Wealth Within and international bestselling author of How to Beat the Managed Funds by 20%. He is also author of the award winning book Accelerate Your Wealth—It’s Your Money, Your Choice, which is available in all good book stores and online at www.wealthwithin.com.au

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