How the Clickbait Generation Elected Trump Via Fake News Online
Social media has been under attack for being partially to blame for the fake news and information propagated on sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Google.
In response, Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, dismissed the allegations; however when it comes to the audience network, Facebook is now prohibiting conspiracy and tabloid sites from using adverts to push their deceptive content.
But Google agreed it might have been at least a little bit to blame, and produced this statement: “We’ve been working on an update to our publisher policies and will start prohibiting Google ads from being placed on misrepresentative content, just as we disallow misrepresentation in our ads policies. Moving forward, we will restrict ad serving on pages that misrepresent, misstate, or conceal information about the publisher, the publisher’s content, or the primary purpose of the web property.”
The problem is immense, with misleading and complete false information being shared all over Facebook and other social media sites that it should come as no surprise that they had an effect on the election outcome.
Journalist Will Oremus explained : “People tend to read, like, and share stories that appeal to their emotions and play to their existing beliefs. Without robust countervailing forces favoring credibility and accuracy, Facebook’s news feed algorithm is bound to spread lies, especially those that serve to bolster people’s preconceived biases. And these falsehoods are bound to influence people’s thinking.”
The public’s reliance on fake news is disturbing to many people. Journalist Curtis Silver put it this way : “The evolution of how we consume and are presented news stories has changed over the years. Decades ago we had a few sources for news, the nightly news and newspapers. The internet made us straight up lazy and stupid. We started to accept everything as fact.”
Silver continued: “News sites started to pop up that reported with very far leaning biases, but we were unable to stop ourselves and actually think about what was happening to the flow of information. We were inundated. We all became experts. Then social media came along and that was the end of truth as we knew it. Fake news sites popped up and we started sharing headlines, not stories. We started sharing clickbait intended for the sole purpose of ad revenue, not truth.”
Conspiracy theories and white nationalists sharing Pepe the Frog memes have created a wildly inaccurate temperament online which is exacerbated by the rise of the alt-right in all of its despicable forms.
That is why real journalists and their audiences cannot “combat this online rise of the right, of fake news and social media vitriol, without the help of tech companies.”
With an estimated 66% of Facebook users getting their news from the social media platform, the idea of an informed public is becoming a notion of the past; a remnant of a time when facts and evidence mattered and Americans could tell the difference.