One could argue that social media is now a bigger player in the United States political machine than any other individual source. Social media is where users go to share their opinions, learn from other people, and ultimately form the basis of some of their political beliefs. The 2016 Presidential Election featuring Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton was a proverbial war with much of the battles being waged via fake news on social media. Facebook is now taking aim at fake news and trying to prevent it from gaining traction on their platform.
It seems like much of the news is spending time focusing on the prevalence of fake news. Rarely, however, does it seem like anyone is offering up verifiable solutions in order to stymie the flow of potentially world changing falsified data. Facebook is one of the few platforms actively looking for ways to better educate its user base while preventing fake news from getting a stranglehold on circulation information. Facebook has begun to roll out a new feature this past week in order to take aim at stories that are deemed ‘questionable’ and require a level of fact checking. This roll out follows Google’s own initiative which helps to label search results as reliable or unreliable.
Facebook seemingly has been determined to prevent an influx of fake news on their website and they’ve been attempting to de-legitimize it with sweeping changes to the platform. Faceboko CEO Mark Zuckerberg brought in Campbell Brown, a former broadcaster for NBC, in order to work as a liaison between Facebook and more traditional media. Zuckerberg wants to make sure that his platform is held up to the same journalistic standards. One analyst pointed out that a huge problem with Facebook is that there are ad placements next to fake news, thus reinforcing them with one another. This same observer goes on to point out that quality must be sought after for a well informed populace.
One suggested solution to the problem of fake news is to put certain web sources behind a paywall. Facebook is testing a plan that would hide certain sources behind a pay-per-view option after the first 10 free articles every month are viewed. Unfortunately, it seems like Facebook will struggle to fight fake news while also maintaining their censorship-free position on information and the internet. There has to be a balancing act and hopefully Facebook finds it before 2020.