Social media contributes to fake news

Columnist Alex Daniels

Columnist Alex Daniels

In the heavily technological society we are apart of, many people nowadays rely on social media, such as Facebook, to receive their news. While it may be ideal and easy to get, social media platforms are not the most reliable source for true and accurate news stories.
According to Pew Research Center, 66 percent of people who have Facebook accounts use the site for news. To add to that, 64 percent of people who get their news from social media say they get it from only one site, this being “most commonly Facebook.”
Social media can be a fun and valuable way to keep up with “social” things such as watching the newest Tasty recipe video or following what a celebrity wore to a recent event.
But in terms of worldly or political news, stories can get twisted and become unreliable and even incorrect. Another reason to not trust social media-based news is that it shows you stories it thinks you would be interested in.
The internet can keep track of things you “like” or search frequently. It then shows you “news” related to things you interact with. Facebook partially does this to keep people interested and remain on their site.
According to the Huffington Post, “Social media tends to stress on anecdotal information rather than evidence-based reports, which could be dangerous when used as a primary source of information.”
“Meanwhile, the advantage of online news is that it is real-time, but its disadvantage is low credibility and reliability,” said Triluj Navamarat, the chairman of the Media Agency Association of Thailand. Almost everything is done online now, which is why online news, especially from social media sites, is so favored.
When social media is already a huge part of our lives, having news correlate with it becomes the most convenient for social media users. Pulling up twitter and seeing the latest news stories is the most easily accessible.
According to CBS News, some fake news publishers use computer software called “bots” which automatically like or retweet a particular story. This causes a story to look a lot more popular than it actually is. Once a story gains popularity through these bots, people start to see it and then react to it as well.
An example of a fake news story gaining much popularity was the story titled “Hillary Clinton has Parkinson’s Disease, physician confirms.”
Facebook and Twitter select stories to show primarily based on how popular they currently are. But this popularity could be fake, having been fooled by bots.
Although technology and social media are helping the world advance in communicative ways, technology is also contributing to the false information people are receiving. So much information is available to so many people, but it’s becoming more and more unreliable with the advancements in technology.
Facebook and other social media platforms are attracting the most fake news that gets circulated around the internet. Although convenient, social media sites are the least reliable sources to rely on receiving your news from. A balance of both social media and more trustworthy sites can be the best combination to have enjoyable, but accurate, news consumption.