Facebook and Fake News

We all saw them through the election….

Some of the most popular including Pope Francis endorsing Donald Trump and an FBI agent involved in Hilary Clinton email investigation was found in a murder suicide. These articles spread like wildfire, it became very evident that fact checking was a thing of the past. We saw the sharing articles, no matter how absurd, as long as it favorited their candidate.

And Facebook was the platform for it all.

Not long after election day the concept of fake news swaying the election became a concern to the “Big Three” (PolitiFact, FactCheck.org and Washington Post’s Fact Checker). The Big Three reached out to Facebook with the hopes of the ability to regulate and track the source of these stories. According to, Alexios Mantzarlis, director of Poynter Institute’s International Fact-Checking Netwrok “Facebook has completely turbo-powered fake news sites, but it’s also probably the first platform that could measure how these things spread, and how we could push back.”

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Facebook’s CEO has expressed his acknowledgment of the issue and its overall effect.

“With 62 percent of Americans using social media as a news source, there is a potential for a significant number of voters basing their political decisions on false headlines” WCVB 5

But where does Facebook go from here…

How does one company filter through all the stories and then control them without violating First Amendment rights? They cannot simple set negative keywords and hope for the best, they cannot do it manually due to sheer size (1.2 billion people use the site daily) and human bias.

This will no doubt have to be the focus of Facebook in the upcoming year. Although Facebook must attempt to make a difference change can also start with the people. Following basic fact checking before sharing and reporting anything they believe to be fake.

 

Written by: Hailey Turner 

Published by

UNT Eagle Strategies

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