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Simulacra in the Age of Social Media: Baudrillard as the Prophet of Fake News

Morris, J. ORCID: 0000-0001-5792-1415 (2020). Simulacra in the Age of Social Media: Baudrillard as the Prophet of Fake News. Journal of Communication Inquiry, 45(4), pp. 319-336. doi: 10.1177/0196859920977154


“Fake News” has been a frequent topic in the last couple of years. The phenomenon has particularly been cited with regards to the election of Donald Trump to the presidency of the United States. The creation of “post truth” reports that are disseminated via the Web and social media has been treated as something new, a product of the digital age, and a reason to be concerned about the effects of online technology. However, this paper argues that fake news should be considered as part of a continuum with forms of media that went before in the 20th Century, and the general trend of postmodernity detailed by Baudrillard. The simulation of communications media and mass reproduction was already evident and has merely progressed in the digital age rather than the latter providing a wholly new context. The paper concludes by asking whether the political havoc caused by fake news has an antidote, when it appears to be a by-product of media simulacra’s inherent lack of connection to the real. In a communications landscape where the misrepresentations of the so-called “Mainstream Media” are decried using even more questionable “memes” on social media, is there any possibility for truth?

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 License ( which permits non-commercial use, reproduction and distribution of the work without further permission provided the original work is attributed as specified on the SAGE and Open Access pages (
Publisher Keywords: fake news, post-truth, Baudrillard, simulation, simulacra
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
P Language and Literature
Departments: School of Communication & Creativity > Journalism
SWORD Depositor:
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