For years, I’ve heard the phrase “you can’t believe everything you read”. Though this phrase originally applied to untrustworthy information in print media, in current times it’s most applicable to information shared via social media. Facebook has been at the forefront of this investigation of the spread of false information, which was put on the public’s radar shortly after the 2016 US election. Information and the way it’s shared on social media make determining the source and accuracy of information difficult, and hard to trust. CEO of Twitter, Jack Dorsey gives his take on fake news:
Abuse, harassment, troll armies, propaganda through bots and human coordination, misinformation campaigns, and divisive filter bubbles…that‘s not a healthy public square. Worse, a relatively small number of bad-faith actors were able to game Twitter to have an outsized impact.
— jack (@jack) September 5, 2018
After many investigations into these fake stories perpetuated by accounts with ulterior (often, political) motives, Facebook is under legal and public pressure to take precautions about false information, advertising and propaganda. On the company’s end, they’ve introduced new systems for determining accurate information. Personally, we as media consumers need to be vigilant when trusting online information. Deeper investigation is essential when determining trusting any source. For domestic information, I find the best tool that Facebook offers is the related stories feature. Media consumers can usually notice if news stories are portraying accurate information by comparing them to other reports. In foreign news, I have personally witnessed old media used to portray different events, so it’s important to fact check what you see against multiple different sources. In both cases, deeper understanding of every piece of information is required. It is our duty as media consumers to determine for ourselves what is true, and be faithful to the spread of truth. Even Mark Zuckerberg faces this, and is held accountable when falling short:
— The New Yorker (@NewYorker) September 10, 2018
Read more on it here.