By Janelle Hora
We all have those friends. You know the ones that love to share the most outlandish news stories and fight tooth and nail to defend what they are reading while deeply believing is it rooted in facts. Now, more than ever, (and many thanks to this election year) Facebook gets flooded with false news stories to the point of them becoming trending topics. While this may not seem like a huge deal as most of us can tell what a reliable source looks like, but the sharing of these stories can actually be detrimental to the way people form their opinions, especially in regards to politics.
Earlier this year Facebook was accused of picking and choosing what news articles were trending, which was true to a degree. The human capital at Facebook was instructed to hand pick and delete the false news stories before they could become trending topics while “strategically placing” selected stories. Ultimately, Facebook fired the team and replaced it with an algorithm that was supposed to keep up. However, the algorithm hasn’t been able to keep up with the rapid speed that the stories are shared and have been reaching large audiences
In a study done by Pew Research, they found that 62% of adults 30-49 get their news from social media, with 18% claiming to do so very often. In the same study conducted 2012, it was found that 42% got their news from social media, which is a 20% increase over four years. While the number of people relying on social media for the news is on the rise, so is the number of trending fake stories.
So what can you do? In the end, say no to sharing false news stories. It’s simple to do a quick Google search to ensure what you’re sharing is factual.