Written in Blood

When I was sent a link to a Snopes article  asking, “Did DNA Testing Companies Admit to Altering Tests to ‘Screw with Racists’?” (2017), I knew that my research had become “fake news.” Even though I spent years at UCLA’s Institute for Society and Genetics with professors Aaron Panofsky and Christopher Kelty researching the use of DNA ancestry tests by white supremacists, I was not immune from becoming a vector for online propaganda and conspiracy theories.

How “Fake News” Lost Its Meaning

Collins Dictionary named fake news its 2017 word of the year, an easy choice given the word’s “unprecedented usage increase” of 365 percent over the previous year. Collins defines fake news as “false, often sensational, information disseminated under the guise of news.” But this dictionary definition belies the shifting usage of the word in actual contexts of situation since the 2016 election.