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Facebook and the Fight Against Fake News

Social media can be great for spreading news and sharing little interesting factoids you may find, but because of that misinformation is often spread quickly. Fake news has always existed, from satire to bored people just wanting to see how people would react, but Facebook have had enough of it and have been trying to prevent the spread.

The problem is that you can't really stop people from sharing what they like on social media. Facebook have some strict policies that get things deleted but often the links and pages have to be reported first. And people aren't going to report a link to a news site if they believe it to be true. Of course there will be people who realise the news links are fake but but they might comment or share anyway. In fact very few people who spy fake news articles will actually report them, they may inform the person who shared the link that it's fake but most people don't believe anything negative is happening. Unfortunately there are still a lot of people who will fall for these fake articles and it's those people that Facebook are trying and failing to protect.

The sad thing is that at first it looked as if Facebook were succeeding in their attempt to block fake news from their site. After their announcement in January 2015 the number of standard engagements fell from 972.7 to 434.78 in December of that year. It was a massive drop and even with fake news stories still going viral on Facebook, it looked as if their war on fake news was having an effect. And then we moved into 2016 when the number jumped back up to 827.8 in January and then up to 1304.7 in February. Fake news is being engaged with now more than ever and it makes it seem like Facebook can't actually do anything to stop this.

When you start looking into the various different fake news sites, you start to notice how these articles appear. Many of them you just read the headline and you just know that it can't be real. It makes you wonder how people can be fooled but it's worse when businesses like radio stations are sharing these articles too. Buzzfeed spoke to a couple of radio DJ's who had been found sharing hoax articles from Huzlers regularly and all they said was that fact checking wasn't important. If an article seemed funny or entertaining then they'd share it. And the thing is people will believe it if something like a radio station shares it because they are expected to report real news. If they're saying that fact checking isn't important then a lot of people won't see it as so either, and this could lead to some issues in the future.

No matter what Facebook do though, they aren't going to be able to stop the spread of fake news completely. The best way to go about it would be to have a keyword tracker that would catch the name of the known fake news sites and alert the user sharing it that it's a known hoax site. They could still choose to share it if they wished but they would be encouraged to post somewhere that the story isn't real. Of course I don't know if this is actually possible and it might not stop the flow that much but it could at least keep people informed. If anyone could do something like that then it would be Facebook.

For now though the fake news sites aren't worried and it doesn't look like Facebook can do much about it.

Rosina is a Songbird rookie with a degree in Creative Writing. She's trying to focus on her novel on the side but is hoping that Content Writing will turn out to be a good career choice in the mean time! Follow her @Songbird_Rosina

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Facebook and the Fight Against Fake News Reviewed by Unknown on Wednesday, April 13, 2016 Rating: 5

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