It has been a month since one of the more polarizing elections in this country’s history. While many would point to the desire to nominate more likable candidates, over the year and a half the two major party candidates were running, there was an abundance of fake news that was circulating online.
Most of this fake news was shared by proponents of both parties on social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, without much thought given to the news’ validity. This is despite having fact-checking websites as an available resource. Today’s consumer is more concerned with receiving instantaneous news rather than correct news. This has led to media companies rushing to the presses to be first, and pushing their agendas. Social media has created a culture in which people need their news now, and often in a passive environment. No longer do people have to wait until the evening news or the newspaper the next day to receive their information. A quick scroll through the Facebook News Feed or Twitter timeline will do just the same, much more efficiently.
However, Facebook has vowed to combat the widespread use of fake news to push agendas or views. This comes as a response to criticisms the social media giant received regarding the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election. Among the steps Facebook is taking to tackle misinformation is a user’s ability to “flag” fake news. When enough users flag the post, Facebook officials responsible for fact-checking will review the post in question, and allow it to stand or be removed from the site. The review will not be a review in the traditional sense, rather one that checks the domain to determine the validity of the site. Facebook will also use current fact-checking sources such as Snopes, the AP, Politifact, and Factcheck.org to evaluate stories that the Facebook community can not come to a consensus on for accuracy.
Additionally, by removing incorrect information or spoofed domains off the Facebook page, they are reducing those domains power through ad revenues and click revenues. This would in turn bury these sites on Google searches and even in the Facebook News Feed. While social media and technology is the reason for Facebook’s latest quest, the technology giant is relying on consumers’ ability to flag posts that are fake to expedite the sorting and removal of fake stories.
Facebook is embarking on a noble challenge, however, it is one that will be tedious and difficult. While some sources are full of fake news, there are also satire sites, which are designed to give a light-hearted take on a current event. It will be interesting to follow Facebook’s quest to quash fake news, but one that in the end will keep things real.