Facebook Has Taken Over News, Enabling the Mass Spread of Misinformation

Image source: Facebook
By Brittany Demmon

In the week since the United States elected Donald Trump as the next president the issue of mass distribution of false and misleading news stories across the platform has been brought to light, with many going so far as to placing the outcome of the extremely divided election on Facebook’s back as it is one of the most frequented news distribution networks online.

Worldwide there are nearly 1.8 billion users on Facebook and that isn’t good news for the good old newspaper. In the US, according to data from Pew Research Center in partnership with the Knight Foundation, 44% of adults in the US get their news on Facebook and 62% get news on social media in general. This figure is even higher for younger generations, of which a majority get their news online, Millennials get their news from Facebook more than any other platform or source. Among Facebook users only, 62% are consuming news on the site and as it turns out, the majority of those accessing news on social media platforms (64%), but not necessarily Facebook, are only consuming news from that one site.

The numbers put a staggering amount of responsibility on Facebook to deliver news that is unbiased but also true and in maintaining an unbiased stance Facebook has failed many of its users by allowing the distribution of false news reports and “click-bait” to be perpetuated across the platform, misinforming many of its users.

Although the issue of false news has been a problem on the platform for a while now the election results have expedited the issue to Facebook’s highest attention as well as many Facebook users’. Facebook has stated that false news stories are only a small portion of the overall news content that is distributed through the platform and that there is no way false content could have impacted its users’ votes to such a degree that it influenced the election outcome. But Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg did acknowledge that it does have work to do to rid the platform of fake news reports…

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