Humans have been making up stuff and presenting it as "news" for as long as there has been language, at least in a written form ... and I wouldn't be surprised if older cave drawings stretched the truth from time to time.
Great piece below with three stark examples of the kind of 'fake news' that has occupied our attention in recent weeks, each dating back hundreds of years.
But while fake news may not be exactly novel itself, it's potentially a lot more dangerous now.
Social media echo chambers, mercenary generators and a globally low setting for bullshit detection have given fake news speed, reach and impact that would have startled even Ben Franklin.
It has been weaponised on an industrial level.
There isn't a way to prevent fake news entirely but it starts with critical reading and conversations.