The Fight Against Fake News

Social media is a great means of conveying news to the masses, but how much of that news is real?

Generally speaking, most news outlets have a social media presence and some of the biggest stories across the globe unfold on Facebook and Twitter as quickly as they do on more traditional news mediums like radio or television. It’s truly impressive that in a matter of moments, the whole world can be looped in on breaking news.

Here’s the problem. Anyone can start the narrative. There are MANY fake news stories that have unfolded online and started from less than reputable sources. Thanks to a constant flow of information on social media, there are many people whose attention spans for social media are fairly short and as a result we as a society have become less skeptical of stories that seem to have merit. Those stories can take a root in a matter of minutes. A share here, a retweet there and all of a sudden a story is on fire and once they catch, they spread like wildfire.

So, how do we stop it? How do we fight fake news?

Luckily, there are people out there already fighting the good fight. Companies like Correctiv have been contracted by Facebook to research potentially fake news stories. Once confirmed to be fake, the stories are reported to Facebook and users are alerted that the story has been disputed by a fact-checker.

Facebook has also taken matters into their own hands from a governance perspective by banning certain sites from advertising if content on their site is believed to be fake, illegal or misleading.

It may be possible for networks to root out all fake news, but it’s pretty unlikely it will totally disappear. The average user needs to remain vigilant in their pursuit for news and remember that if you’re going to rely on your news feed to stay up-to-date on what’s going on in the world, make sure the source is reputable before you go ahead and share it.

 

Twitter  Is the news you’re reading on your news feed real? Check out The Fight Against Fake News.

facebook   What’s the deal with fake news? How do you tell the difference between a real story on Facebook and a fake one? Check out The Fight Against Fake News to learn more.

References:

https://www.forbes.com/sites/jimmyrohampton/2017/01/03/5-social-media-trends-that-will-dominate-2017/#15a2a6416ffe

https://www.ft.com/content/0feeafe6-2c01-11e7-9ec8-168383da43b7

 

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2 thoughts on “The Fight Against Fake News

  1. As a journalism grad, I shudder every time I see someone share an article that is clearly satire/parody or just plain false as if it were true. There are so many things readers can do to weed out the good from the bad (reading the url is a good place to start, same with checking the story’s spelling and grammar). It also takes me back to a saying one of my old profs always repeated to us: “It’s better to be right than first.”

    • I am shuddering along with you Andrew. It never ceases to amaze me that some of these CLEARLY fake stories gain so much momentum. It would almost be laughable if it wasn’t so concerning that people were being misinformed.

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