Facebook and their role in the 2016 election

By Maria Martinez

Fake news has been a hot topic for this year in many situations from people enhancing stories on social media to American adults solely relying on Facebook for news.
It is election year and our results were less than pleasing for most of us and even a wakeup call to the problem we are dealing with. Fake news isn’t just about enhancement to generate buzz for our views, social movements and rights but it has now become something that is creating “real-world political repercussions”.

Mark Zuckerberg denies any influence Facebook may have created during this election claiming it “is a pretty crazy idea” even though there has been data showing the amount of Americans who rely on Facebook for their news.

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Photos Courtesy of Nieman Lab

Facebook along with other news sources claim they are now taking action into removing any news with no basis to eliminate any possible fake news. Facebook did take some drastic measures by cutting funding of ads for the creators of this popular content. Most claims have been made against Facebook’s News Feed and Trending Topics, two of their main content products.

Stories from these two content forms included the supposed endorsement of Donald Trump from the Pope, the disqualification of Hillary to run for president because of her health, and the claim Democrats in Pennsylvania could cast their ballots from home, all stories resulted false. Stories misinforming Democrats about their eligibility to vote online from home is a great example of how they may have missed their voting window after realizing their inability to do so.

Do you believe Facebook should be held responsible for allowing fake news to be shared and allowing uncontained attention? Some people believe with a big platform that drives attention from such a big audience, 1.79 billion active monthly users to be exact, they should be held responsible. Or do you believe they should allow users to practice free speech on their own personal page even if it is shared with thousands of people causing them to be misinformed?

Published by

UNT Eagle Strategies

Class members of the social media class in the Mayborn School of Journalism