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Social Media & Fake News: Facebook Is Finally Taking Some Accountability

  • Digital8
  • March 16, 2017

 

Facebook is fast becoming an inherent part of our society, with roughly 25% of the world's population making up its user base, the gravity it holds is almost unparalleled. We have seen elections won and lost based on the strength of their social media campaigns and we have seen global events such as war and terrorism in a way no society previously has. With such an availability to effortlessly produce and post information, a negative byproduct has occurred. The growth of social media platforms alike Facebook have allowed for fake news, designed to change the perceptions of it’s readers, to inundate social feeds.

In light of the ever increasing amount of fake news shared online, Facebook has developed a plan to stop the spread of fake news on it’s site. In a recent blog post, facebook detailed it’s plan that will seek to determine the actuality of news by engaging third party organisations and the general community.

To begin, Facebook is testing out new reporting methods to make catching out hoaxes easier. As part of this plan, users can report a news article or story that they think is suspicious by clicking on the upper right hand corner of a post. Additionally, the company is making alterations so that its software can detect the “red flags” or signs of fake news.

From here Facebook will have outside fact checkers to examine these stories that their software and their users have deemed to be based in untruths.  After this process has been conducted and the news is ruled unfactual or fake, Facebook will then tag the story as "disputed by third-party fact-checkers" within Facebook's newsfeed.

In doing this Facebook is exploring and acknowledging the gravity it holds in defining society's view of the world. This point may seem obvious for some but the information and headlines that are blasted at 1.86 billion users play a crucial role in defining people's opinions and broadening their knowledge. Many people dismiss the weight that social media platforms such as Facebook holds, but we live in a world in which technology is an inherent part of our daily life.

For many, Facebook has become a valid source of knowledge and gives a platform to inform those who otherwise might have been left in the dark. For others, social media platforms offer a springboard like effect i.e. they raise topics that one may not have thought about and from there have the capacity to go on to engage and learn more thoroughly about a topic.

For Facebook to have openly acknowledged their accountability to its users sends a really powerful message for the future of social media and the growing importance that social media will play in our future.