Fake News and Facebook
Is wider choice wise choice ?
Use only one of these 2 focus points ( keep track to reference)
The 2016 US election – alternative facts and the post truth world or….. fake news and face book.
Fake News and Facebook
The extensive use of the Internet and devices that enable its access and use continues to facilitate effective communication around the globe. However, in the past few years, the increasing misuse of Internet platforms such as social networking sites, websites, and blogs poses a major challenge in the modern society. These platforms are greatly manipulated to promote digital falsities by falsifying information and misinforming the users of online content for the purposes of misleading them on key issues such as politics, the economy, and social development among others. Facebook is one of the mostly used platforms for advancing fake news. The height of the issue was seen in the recent (2016) US elections where the social networking site was used extensively to alter truths, misrepresent facts, and mislead the American voters. An articulate discussion of the use of Facebook in spreading fake news offers a better understanding of the impact and possible solutions to the problem.
The influence of Facebook and other social networking sites on societies across the world is significantly great. With over a billion users, Facebook has opened up the global community and enhanced social integration and interaction. However, its extensive has opened up an opportunity for exploitation by frauds to manipulate information and mislead people. Political propagandists, governments, media outlets, and general users may use the platform to mislead users by sharing fake news. Information on the platform spreads fast and feeds millions of users with the fake news, influencing opinions, perspectives, and ideas. The manipulation of facts and truths through the falsification of digital content makes Facebook a powerful manipulation tool. The influence of the site in the 2016 US elections shows the possible impact of the platforms sharing of fake news can have on the society. The site was used greatly by parties, politicians, and supporters to push for ideas and manipulate information to mislead the users. However, despite the clear influence of the site, the Company’s CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, rubbished the speculations as a ‘crazy idea’ by asserting that fake news in the site is ‘a very small content’ (Claburn, 2017). However, that the site allows immense sharing of faux news articles and the falsification of information is undeniable. Lake and Flynn (2017) state that the social networking site played a great role in shaping the campaigns and elections by allowing the propagation of propaganda. Despite the Company’s denial of the role its site played in influencing the elections, it is currently focusing efforts towards the development of measures and strategies of minimizing the extensive manipulation of the system to share fake news. Since February, the Company has started addressing the concerns.
The management of Facebook seems to have understood the extensive manipulation of the truth through the media and is currently working towards improving its system to alleviate and make it difficult for users to spew fake news. In April 2017, the Company announced increased emphasis on the development of new and more efficient security tools through its CEO, Mark Zuckerberg. The Company released a statement stating that, “We have observed many actions by fake account operators that could only be performed by people with language skills and a basic knowledge of the political situation in the target countries, suggesting a higher level of coordination and forethought” (BBC News, 2017). The acknowledgement of the problem has pushed the Company to engaging in a vigorous activity of rooting out false news by, for instance, removing fake Facebook accounts and enhancing the monitoring process. Moreover, the Company continues to develop its system to enhance security through new tools. The expansion of the security measures shows the appreciation of the impact of the platform in advancing fake news. As the Company’s report stated, the move intends to reduce or prevent “more subtle and insidious forms of misuse” (Castillo, 2017). This shows Facebook’s appreciation of its role in promoting fake news by enabling the misuse of the platform. The prevention of data hacks, enhancement of information operations monitoring, and detecting abuse and fake accounts will contribute significantly towards the improvement of the social networking site’s ability to curb fake news (Castillo, 2017). Further, the Company is adopting new strategies to ensure that the users of the platforms are not manipulated or misled by fake news. It intends to prevent other possible effects on communities across the world by eliminating fake news.
The influence of fake news in the society is extensive and, therefore, the need for the creation of awareness on the issue and the adoption of measures and strategies for minimizing the trend. In the recent past, the use of the social networking site for promoting fake news has resulted into manipulation of facts and misrepresentation of truths in the society. This continues to affect socio-economic and political interaction, integration, and development. Understanding the concern, Facebook has the taken the initiative of promoting awareness about the use of the networking site to advance fake news (BBC News, 2017). The site was used extensively to push fake news during the recent US elections and shaping the course of the campaigns and elections. That efficiency of the news in reaching a large population of users around the world makes it an equally efficient source of fake news. The Company has started campaigns to create awareness of the possibility of the use of the site in promoting fake news during the upcoming UK campaigns (Castillo, 2017). The campaign The BBC reported that Facebook used its platforms to create awareness and went further to publish adverts in the UK press. The Company used major news outlets in the country such as the Daily Telegraph, The Guardian, and The Times to educate the users on how to determine the genuineness of a story (BBC News, 2017). Acknowledging the problem and creating awareness shows the depth of the problem and the willingness of the Company to fight the issue. However, success in the elimination of the practice may be difficult to achieve. Promoting awareness and educating users to identify fake news will not stop the misuse of the platform.
Policymakers, politicians, journalists, and users from around the world argue for the impossibility of Facebook to completely root out the problem. According to (Scott, 2017), the measures taken for the reduction of the use of Facebook in sharing fake news may have a positive influence in creating awareness and preventing users from the consumption of the content without questioning it but will most definitely not end the manipulation of the truth through the platform. Scott (2017) asserts that policy makers in the UK feel that Facebook lacks the ability to prevent misinformation and digital falsities. The inability of the Company to regulate the use of the platform but only depend on reports from other users to clamp down falsities makes it difficult to curb the use of the site to push lies and misinformation (Claburn, 2017). Multiple politicians in the UK have called for the government to fine social media networks that allow the promotion of false information by failing to police fake news and prevent hate speech and bullying across the sites. Additionally, there is increasing pressure from other entities such as the European publishers who argue that Facebook maintains the sole responsibility of ensuring that the content posted on its platform does not misinform, mislead, or falsify facts and truths (Scott, 2017). As the UK elections approach, the increasing concern of misinformation and fake news through the site trigger an endless debate on the inability of the Company to prevent the practices. However, Facebook shows the initiative and the willingness to solve the problem and has adopted strategies for the effective alleviation of the vice. Recently, Facebook announced that above other measures, it will employ 3000 moderators to work with the current moderators to minimize fake news and misinformation through the site. The measures the company is taking will play an important role in eliminating the concern.
conclusion, social networking sites and the social media have been manipulated to
propagate fake news, misinform, and mislead users on social, political, and economic
matters. The platforms’ extensive use makes them effective in spewing fake news
and propaganda. Facebook, the most used social networking site, offers a
greater platform for misinformation and fake news. The contribution of the site
in the manipulation of the truth and the presentation of falsified facts in the
past, especially during the 2016 US campaigns and elections, demonstrated the potential
of the platform in misinforming and misleading. The Company has focused on
implementing effective measures and strategies for minimizing its manipulation
to spread falsities. Some of the key measures include hiring more employees,
improving security settings, and creating awareness by educating the users on
how to spot falsities in information shared through the site. The adverts placed
in different major news outlets in the UK shows the dedication towards
eliminating the problem. However, many people, including journalists, policy
makers, publishers, and politicians doubt the ability of Facebook to deal with
BBC News. (2017, May 20). Facebook publishes fake news ads in UK papers. Retrieved 2017, from BBC News: Technology: http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-39840803
Castillo, M. (2017, April 27). Facebook goes harder after ‘fake news’ accounts, adding new security tools and rooting out bad actors. Retrieved from CNBC: Tech: http://www.cnbc.com/2017/04/27/facebook-to-fight-fake-news-groups.html
Claburn, T. (2017, April 27). Facebook decides fake news isn’t crazy after all. It’s now a real problem. Retrieved from The Register: https://www.theregister.co.uk/2017/04/27/facebook_fake_news_security/
Lake, E., & Flynn, E. (2017, May 8). FIGHTING THE FAKES: What is fake news, what are Facebook and Google doing about it and what are the newspaper ads about? Retrieved from The Sun: https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/2188911/fake-news-inquiry-facebook-google-advertising-boycott/
Scott, M. (2017, May 8). Facebook Aims to Tackle Fake News Ahead of U.K. Election. Retrieved from The New York Times: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/08/technology/uk-election-facebook-fake-news.html?_r=0