Fake News and Social Media- Blog #7

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By: Phillip Sternitzke- @PSpepper

A lot of big things have happened in the world over the few weeks; funny enough one of the biggest news stories is about the news itself, and how its fake. Fake news has been a source of huge controversy for the past month or so, particularly around the election. Fake news started to make headlines after reports surfaced that Donald Trump won the popular vote as well as the elect orals. Immediately after the election, many news sites started citing a report that Trump won the popular vote by over 300,000. Turns out the original source was a wordpress page, and that in reality Clinton received over 2.5 million more votes than Trump. Since then fake news has been a constant source of controversy, particularly when it comes to social media. Users of social media seem particularly susceptible to fake news, being tricked by fake sites or taking headlines at face value. I’m not if it’s because people are ignorant or idiotic, all I know is that my feed is constantly bombarded by obviously fake news. One question that has been raised is what are social media companies role in this whole ordeal. Is it the job of companies like Facebook and Twitter to police their services, stopping fake news in their tracks? And what constitutes as fake news? Is it a story that claims to be fact but is blatantly false, or an opinion that isn’t popular? The situation isn’t as simple as it may seem. And if they did start combating fake news, is it censorship? Denying people the right to post what they want to post. What gives them the authority to tell people what they can believe. There may never be a solution to this issue. We just have to hope that overtime people begin to become wise to fake news stories, learning what sources are credible and which are crap.




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UNT Eagle Strategies

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