Have untrustworthy journalists left us vulnerable to fake news?

There has been an increase in the amount of fake news being published online. Fake news is news that contains misleading and “bogus”(1) content. Recently, Facebook have faced many issues with fake news as they were blamed for swaying people to vote for Donald Trump in the presidential election. The company was accused of “abdicating its responsibility to clamp down on fake news stories”(2).

The rise in fake news is starting to damage journalism, as people are starting to lose trust in what is true in the media. People are now more reluctant on what the truth is. However, “fake news stories have been around for as long as truthful ones”(3). It’s only now that we have websites such as Google and Facebook, that we can track how much fake news there is and how much it is effecting people’s views.

 

The founder of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, claimed it’s a “pretty crazy idea”(4) to think that the fake news on his social media site. He said: “voters make decisions based on their lived experience”(4). Although fake news sites contain false information, they aim to be humorous and it should be obvious that the information is misleading.

Facebook and Google are now trying to clamp down on the amount of fake news that is distributed to users. After the numerous complaints were made about Facebook’s fake news, a spokesman for the site said: “our team will continue to closely vet all prospective publishers and monitor existing ones to ensure compliance”(5). Google also announced that they have given €150,000 to three UK organisations working on fact-checking projects so they can find the fake news sights and remove them. They said they will be able to recognise claims made in political debates and online media, and “immediately alert journalists if they are inaccurate”(6). By reducing the amount of fake news there is on the internet, the public may start to feel more confident that the news they read is accurate.

 

(1) https://www.theguardian.com/media/2016/nov/17/fake-news-google-funding-fact-checking-us-election

(2) https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2016/nov/10/facebook-fake-news-election-conspiracy-theories

(3) http://www.niemanlab.org/2016/12/fake-news-and-the-future-of-journalism/

(4) https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2016/nov/10/facebook-fake-news-us-election-mark-zuckerberg-donald-trump

(5) https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2016/nov/15/facebook-google-fake-news-sites-ad-networks

(6) https://www.theguardian.com/media/2016/nov/17/fake-news-google-funding-fact-checking-us-election

 

 

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