Ever since last week’s historic turn of events, journalists and media analysists alike are trying to make sense of what transpired on November 8th. Unfortunately, there is more and more proof that the result of the elections was heavily influenced by fake news websites. What’s even more disturbing is the fact that Facebook contributed to the spread of the fabricated information, sparking certain institutions to demand that the tech company change its status into a media company.
The Facebook Fake News Scandal Started a New Movement
Media outlets are enraged by the fact that Facebook allowed fake news websites to share their content on the social media platform. While legally they are exempt of any fault thanks to the Good Samaritan act, morally, Zuckerberg’s company has committed an unforgivable sin.
As Zeynep Tufekci, New York Times columnist wrote, Facebook is now the main algorithm that decides the type of news its users are exposed to. Facebook may just be a platform, and it may not be responsible for the quality or veracity of the information its spreads, it is in charge of deciding the structure of every user’s newsfeed.
Some went as far as to name Facebook the “new source of journalism,” pointing to the fact that most people prefer to scroll their news feed in search of novelty information rather than access a specialized website or purchase the print form.
Moreover, Facebook is refusing to bear the title of media provider since it comes with more obligations for the same benefits. Currently, both Facebook and Google profit from the same add benefits as online media outlets, but they are exempt of any fault when counterfeit news articles are being heavily promoted on their websites.
The Good Samaritan Act protects their right of spreading whatever information they please as long as it does not breach federal law.
Fake News Websites Are Being Exposed
Melissa Zimdars, a communication assistant professor at Massachusett’s Merrimack College, created a public Google document in which she compiled the names of all “false, misleading, clickbait-y and satirical news sources.”
The initiative has registered plenty of success as media consumers are trying to rid their news feeds of fake news.
Fakenewswatch.com does the same thing, the website updating its information almost daily.
Are you going to be on a lookout for fake news?
Image source: Wikipedia