Fake News on Facebook

By: Sarah Scarlett

With over a billion users on Facebook, posts can be shared and reshared an ungodly number of times. Facebook provides users with the ability to connect and create content to a wide and personalized audience. Unfortunately false news sites and untrustworthy sources can be shared and the audience who is viewing it may not have the know-how needed to verify or refute the story.

Facebook has proposed a possible solution to debunk fake news on the site. The solution allows users to flag articles that they believe are fishy. The article will then be analyzed by Correctiv. Correctiv is a non profit organization in Germany that runs off of the strict code of ethics provided by the Poynter Institute. If a story is proven to be untrustworthy it will be labelled as such.

In the original Forbes article, Facebook Launches Fake News Filter; It Won’t Work, But It’s A Start, the author made it clear this new system was a response to German officials issues with fake articles on Facebook. However, the system could be useful for all users. The author makes a great point in stating that the system won’t be fully effective, but it’s a move in the right direction.

The system is not currently being used in the U.S., but what would be the outcome if used here?  Would users believe the system is useful or would they consider it a silencer? News sources that don’t always provide the most credible information would definitely fight back. Unfortunately even untrustworthy news sources have a following, and would most likely post articles that express disapproval for the new system and consumers of those sites, would believe them.

For example, Breitbart has already taken offense to the new system. In an article titled Facebook ‘Fake News’ Censor Correctiv Funded By Soros, Staffed By Left-Wing Establishment, Breitbart clearly states an opposition to the news service Correctiv provides. The author claims Correctiv is funded and staffed by a “left wing establishment” and therefore can’t be trustworthy.

Facebook is most likely pretty far from finding a solution to the misinformation problem, but using Correctiv is a great step forward.

 

Sources:

  1. https://correctiv.org/en/
  2. Woollacott, Emma. “Facebook Launches Fake News Filter; It Won’t Work, But It’s A Start.” Forbes. Forbes Magazine, 16 Jan. 2017. Web. 05 Feb. 2017.
  3. Tomlinson, Chris. “Facebook ‘Fake News’ Censor Correctiv Funded By Soros, Staffed By Left-Wing Establishment.” Breitbart. N.p., 05 Feb. 2017. Web. 05 Feb. 2017.

 

 

 

Published by

UNT Eagle Strategies

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