Fake news and misinformation are one of the most common issues with social media right now. Why? Because the growing use of social media has changed how people not only perceive information but also handle it.
In this article, we will have a look at the downsides of social media in terms of one common issue faced by us all: fake news and misinformation. Here are some key factors that need to be looked at with an alarm to reduce its overall impact on us all in the upcoming years for good.
While for many people social media has become one of their key sources of news and information, the easy accessibility for anyone to publish or share information on many social media platforms has made things complicated for us all.
People have hidden biases and do not suspect they are being misguided. It is easy to bind yourself to an echo chamber on the Internet that fuel your biases. These lead to a narrow perspective of the world. People are not very good at research as most only refer to the first page of the search engines.
Effortless Publishing & Social Media Algorithms
Today, anyone can create an account on social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter and share fake news and misinformation quickly as well as effortlessly. They are unknowingly being aided by social media algorithms, social media companies, and some advertisers for their personal benefit.
Social Media Marketing Companies & Their Marketing Gimmicks
Misinformation or targeted information is being used maliciously by some marketing companies to influence the thoughts, behaviour, and buying decisions of their target customers.
Social media marketing is a big business and works well in tandem with targeted demographics. These marketing doesn’t just involve traditional ads. It can be fake accounts/bots astroturfing a product, news, or political agenda. It disguises malicious actors to be natural participants of a community, but with an ulterior motive
No Journalistic Norms Being Followed
Newspapers or news websites, unlike some popular social media platforms, usually adhere to the journalistic norms of balance and objectivity. This is a major reason we trust them as credible sources of news and genuine information. However, some social media platforms purposefully dismiss and ignore these norms. Thus, helping their users share false news and misinformation without fact-checking, despite having emotionally charged or controversial content.
All this contributes to the spread of misinformation and fake news at a great speed that is beyond anticipation. Making it incredibly difficult for people to assess the truthfulness of the content because of the heightened reactions of all the social media content users.
Inability To Prove True Malicious Intent
Addressing all these problems relevant to the spread of fake news and misinformation can be very challenging. The inability to prove the truly malicious intent of these intentionally published falsehoods is only making things harder.
Tackling Fake News & Misinformation On Social Media
So what can we do to tackle this common issue with social media faced by us all today?
First, we should block all the malicious bots as soon as we identify them. All these malicious bots might behave in a human-like manner, detection of these bots would help in treating them with the right caution by relevant authorities.
Second, all the users of social media should be empowered and educated to check the facts of the news or information they come across on social media. They should evaluate the truthfulness of it all before actually believing it. This would help reduce the unintentional sharing of any fake news or misinformation on social media at an incredible scale.
You shouldn’t just be skeptical of people online but also the company that host these social media platforms. They have as much interest in gaining engagement from users as these malicious actors. Many platforms track you throughout the Internet to understand your identity, relativity with others and your preferences to advertise to you. And since click bait and outrage attract attention and engagement, these platforms are slow to negate the harm dangerous content.
Try hosting and using private front end for as many social networks as you can. Switching between distributed private front ends is inherently better for privacy and the reduction of social media usage and influence.
We cannot obliterate misinformation from social media, but we can be cautious not to be caught in some lies and conspiracy theories. Now that you are aware of this common issue with social media, we hope you will tackle fake news and misinformation in a better way for sure.