When fake news stirs real political turmoil

Matt Payne

@PatteMaper

Beyond Facebook’s fake news epidemic, the social media giant has turned its attention to government-led malpractices.

In a statement reported by The Verge, this includes the production of fake accounts by investigation agencies meant to glean more info on potential spies and hackers.

“Our mission is to give people the power to share and make the world more open and connected. Yet it is important that we acknowledge and take steps to guard against the risks that can arise in online communities like ours,” writes authors Jen Weedon and William Nuland, members of Facebook’s Threat Intelligence Team.

Curiously enough, Facebook has recently been pressured by the French government to shut down more than 30,000 of fake accounts purportedly forged by the Russian government to push right-wing propaganda trying to influence its recent election.

The company even went as far as purchasing front-page ads in Le Monde, Les Échos, Libération, Le Parisien and 20 Minutes explaining how to better spot and flag such accounts in order to better protect its integrity and maintain a standard of transparency.

These instances highlight the real-world issues the fake news epidemic can have, and how it can spark tensions between states such as the French and Russian governments.

These instances also potentially expose Facebook’s growing annoyance. In an editorial TechCrunch ran on the ads, they posed that the social media channel was more focused on proclaiming its own proaction toward the problem rather than thoroughly advising how to spot fake news, and journalists who see these ads running in their papers would likely spot that.

Featured Image: Courtesy, Chicago Tribune

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UNT Eagle Strategies

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