Fact from Fiction: A Facebook Issue

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Given the state of Facebook starting from 2016 until now it’s clear there’s an issue with proper dissemination of fact from fiction.

Users are pushed news an algorithm determines they’re more likely to click on.

“Our innate biases allow [skepticism] to be bypassed, researchers have found — especially when presented with the right kind of algorithmically selected ‘meme,'” according to a 2017 New York times article. 

But this method of news delivery has no consideration of whether the news being pushed is true. Obviously, this has led to serious consequences.

Most importantly, it has created a misinformed public who live in their own “bubbles” with a different perception of the world from reality.

Personally, I avoid this simply by avoiding Facebook. But it seems this isn’t as easy for other people:

Since this isn’t a viable method for most people as Facebook is an immensely important public forum I would advise people to start checking into their media sources. There’s more media than ever before and a lot of it isn’t very reputable.

And for Facebook, that’s not a concern:

This isn’t to say start-up/underground media can’t be a good news source. Places like Politico had to get their start somewhere. But it’s important to examine whether your sources are behaving professionally or like some person on their computer regurgitating what they find online.

Language is also incredibly important. Are they adding speculations to the facts? Is the report laced with adjectives instead of being rife with nouns? Does it seem like the author has a bias? All of these can point to faulty reporting.

But most important of all is just being aware that not everything you see online is fact.

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2 thoughts on “Fact from Fiction: A Facebook Issue

  1. I really enjoyed hearing your perspective on Facebook’s algorithm issue and the false information people are pushing at users. The topic of InfoWars pages is of high concern to the reliability of Facebook’s platform and I believe it was key to bring this into your blog post. I would have even liked to hear some information from that article as well concerning the unlimited amount of fake news from your second tweet example.

  2. Mac,
    I think that you did a great job informing people about the issue with Facebook’s algorithm and false information posted on the platform. I agree with you that it is important to examine your sources to see if they are professional and to be aware that not everything you see is true.

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