Conspiracy Sites Throw Tantrums After Facebook Promises to Fix Fake News
According to Pew Research Center (PRC), Americans are concerned about the impact of fake news. In fact, “about two-in-three U.S. adults (64%) say fabricated news stories cause a great deal of confusion about the basic facts of current issues and events.”
In order to prevent fake news from continuing to have an effect on the general public, 45% of those polled said “government, politicians and elected officials bear a great deal of responsibility for preventing made-up stories from gaining attention.”
To help prevent the spread of fake news online, Journalist Barbara Ortutay provided some tips:
- Check the source because fake news is “designed to draw you in for advertising revenue”
- Grammar and emotions are important because credible journalists do not write in all caps randomly, sound angry or inflammatory, and do not use a plethora of exclamation points
- Factual stories get a lot of coverage, so cross-reference news with other sources
- Fake news rarely cites sources, but when they do, the sources do not corroborate their claims
To avoid more hoaxes online, Mark Zuckerberg has promised to stop the spread of fake news with a partnership with fact-checking organizations who adhere to standards set forth by Poynter’s International Fact-Checking Network (PIFCN) such as Snopes, PolitiFact and the Washington Post.
Adam Mosseri, vice president of news feed for Facebook, wrote in a post : “We believe in giving people a voice and that we cannot become arbiters of truth ourselves, so we’re approaching this problem carefully. We’ve focused our efforts on the worst of the worst, on the clear hoaxes spread by spammers for their own gain, and on engaging both our community and third party organizations.”
Conspiracy hubs like Breitbart News and Infowars have complained about being labeled fake news although both of their sites have notoriously claimed that the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting was a hoax.
And both have propagated the #Pizzagate lie that turned violent after one of their readers showed up at Comet Ping Pong (the pizzeria named in the conspiracy) to conduct an “independent investigation” armed with an assault rifle.
Infowars threw a hissy-fit , threatening to sue Facebook, but then further discredited themselves for calling this move to purge fake news as a “CIA plot”.
Zuckerberg stated that after having fake news shared on his social media platform which directly influenced the 2016 election, “misinformation” should be taken “seriously”. One of his first steps is to ban fake new publishers from using Facebook’s advertising network.