If you’ve been listening to the mainstream media, you’ve probably heard that “fake news” on social media is threatening our democracy.

It all sounds very scary. But don’t panic…

There is opportunity in the wake of fake news to tell the truth, to share well researched and sourced information, to dig beyond the headlines in order to shed light on reality and engage people to stand up for what they believe in.

Fake news has become a hot topic in the wake of the 2016 presidential election, with reports of individuals and businesses actively building articles and social media posts from made-up facts.

In the wake of this problem, everyone is asking: what should we do about it? Part of the issue is that it’s hard to define “fake” news. For example, would a climate change denier on Facebook be promoting fake news -- or just an alternative way at seeing an issue? Sometimes, the answer isn’t so clear.

Rather than have some sort of entity -- like Facebook, or worse, the government -- decide what is fake and what is not, we need to let the free market decide. Facebook pages that continuously blast out blatantly fake stories to its fans will inevitably lose credibility along with their audience. We don’t need Facebook to punish the jokers, because its users will do that on their own.

Pages that post original, interesting, and factual content will retain an engaged and loyal fan base.

We cannot let government or establishment media or tech companies dictate what is fake and what is real. We must dig for truth ourselves. It’s our responsibility, for ourselves and for the betterment of our society.

But the “fake news” story is also about something else -- something much more insidious. It’s about targeting websites and opinion that isn’t left-leaning. It’s about silences voices of dissent. Nearly all of the “fake news” being cited by the mainstream media is from conservative-leaning pages.

Democrats are trying to blame Hillary Clinton’s loss on fake news instead of taking responsibility for the fact that they lost for nominating an unlikable, entrenched bureaucrat who was knee-deep in damning scandals. It’s time for them to take responsibility for this massive and embarrassing failure and to ask why they lost, instead of pointing figures.

As for fake news, there is something wrong when people are okay making a profit off of creating fake news, or worse a loss of journalistic integrity by perpetuating bias. But Americans are smart; we know when we’re being lied to. We don’t need the government deciding what’s real and what’s fake, because we can distinguish that for ourselves.

We need more entrepreneurs to solve problems, and it's vital for those entrepreneurs willing to step up to be well informed. It’s not easy to cut through the malarkey but, best believe, when you sharpen the skills to do just that, you become empowered and better prepared to face the challenges that exist today and are coming in the near future.

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