By: Madison Wilie
68% of all U.S. adults use Facebook and 66% of those people use the social media site to get news. That is roughly 108,820,900 people gathering intel about politics, the arts, and the world through a social media platform. This is a 19% increase from the 47% of adults who used Facebook to get news in 2013.
However, there has been a recent uprise in the spread of false reports. Surrounding the 2016 election was a flurry of fast-spreading conspiracy theories and misrepresentations of the truth. From claims that Donald Trump flew 200 stranded marines home in one of his planes to accusations of a child-sex slavery ring, the line began to blur between true journalism and propaganda. Social media has made it easier to propagate mistruths; a BuzzFeed analysis stated that both right-wing political pages (38%) and left-wing pages (20%) shared false information a percentage of the time.
Realizing the role that social media plays in the distribution of fake news, Facebook linked with 42 independent, nonpartisan organizations such as Associated Press, Politifact and Snopes.com to create a solution. On March 4th of this year, Facebook executives announced the launch of a fact-checking system. This system will allow for users to report any fake articles circulating through their timeline. If an article is reported fake, it will undergo third-party review. If, when fact checked, the article is found to be untrue, Facebook will let users know that it has been disputed, and who it was disputed by.
The system has not yet been released to all users, however hopefully this is the first of many steps in creating a better informed nation.