If you are on Facebook, chances are you have come across a post falsely indicating your favorite celebrity has died, or that a man-eating shark responsible for one hundred missing persons around Lac-St.-Jean was finally caught.
Bigger, faster, stronger
The Internet gives the opportunity for anyone to post almost any content, whether it is based on facts or not. When the content is posted on a website, it is almost restricted to the users, and to Google searches. However, once something is shared on social media, its audience grows quickly, as it gets visibility through tags, shares, likes and hashtags. In this fast-paced world where social media users are becoming less patient and expect to get what they want when they want it, content is viewed and shared at the touch of a finger, even if it contains false information.
Fighting the propagation of false information or fake news on social media is not an easy task. As a matter of Fact, by trying to tackle fake news, Facebook has been criticized for increasing its volume and importance on the platform. After telling users not to share certain fake news, it increased the traffic to the related sites and generated more exposure for the news. It created a domino effect where users were also sharing the news to tell their connections not to share them, or not to believe them.
With the rise of social media came the rise of click-bait. In an article on Social Media Today, Jeff Rum explains that “the danger of click-bait is that if the only criterion for success is clicks, then the quality of content falls. And fast. And far. Click-bait has diminished how people value news. Fake news stories flourish in a market flooded with fluff and appeals to our baser instincts”. With juicy, misleading social media posts, websites with fake news get more clicks, more attention.As clicks is a measurement unit and a criteria for social media marketing success, some sites will do anything to get the clicks, including misleading their users and posting poor content.
With the amount of information we process everyday on social media, it can become confusing and time consuming to verify the source of all the information we come across, and its credibility. However, more than ever, it is essential that we remain critical and question the information we are spoon fed through social media posts. In a democratic society, we need facts and we need to hear the truth if we want to make informed decisions. Furthermore, to stop perpetuating the cycle of fake news, we need not only to ignore it, but to take the time to value and share the truth to make sure that it is not buried in fake news.
Take the time to stop and think before you click.
What do you think about click-bait in the context of social media marketing? How do you make sure what you see in your social media feed is as real as possible?
How long do you analyze a social media post before you click on its link? #fakenews http://bit.ly/2wkiAYU
Are you as picky as you should be when it comes to choosing the stories you read from your social media feeds? http://bit.ly/2wkiAYU