Facebook and Fake News

Alice Bolandhemat In the generation of technology and social media, news is now often relayed through Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, rather than by reputable news sources. Society even turns to the social media of politicians to get updated. However, with access to more coverage of current events than ever before comes a record number of fake news articles. Perhaps an extended family member has shared with you an article that came up on their Facebook feed with a fake ABC News Logo stamped on the very top. Or maybe you yourself have come across an article that falsely reports an actor or artist to be dead. What do you do with that article? Do you pass it along for others to read by hitting share? Do you completely disregard Facebook as a news outlet all together? After our most recent presidential election, fake news has become a trend. As a joke, people now write and share articles with headings that are too obviously false. These heading range from “Kid Rock is Seeking a Seat in the Senate” to “Donald Trump Will Return to Produce the Apprentice During his Presidency.” While these may seem satirical to some, when these articles are then shared on a site like Facebook, they can become toxic when they are taken seriously. In response to backlash about the reliability of the news circulated on their page, Facebook announced in January that they would prioritize local, trusted news sources. Facebook will push for articles that pertain to your city to pop up in your news feed. CEO Mark Zuckerberg tweeted “We’re making a series of updates to show more high quality, trusted news. Last week we made an update to show more news from sources that are broadly trusted across our community.” How does this change affect the Latin student body? Does it at all? As freshman Marianne Mihas wrote in a Forum article titled “The Death of Facebook,” “To the class of 2021, Facebook is completely foreign.” If younger grades don’t use the platform to begin with, it’s not likely that they rely on it for news updates. Sophomore Kendal Seymore said “I more often see younger people share animal videos or Buzzfeed quizzes than I do significant news. However, some older members of my extended family share political news on Facebook. I think people only repost news that supports their opinion, which can fill my news feed with unreliable or sometimes prejudiced articles.” When asked what he thought of Zuckerberg’s response, Seymore replied, “as important as I think local news is, I don’t think it makes Facebook any more credible, and it doesn’t change what many people see as Facebook’s purpose: to socialize online.”   Facebook’s update hasn’t been out for a substantial amount of time, but as of right now, there are no noticeable differences, with the exception of a few more Tribune articles than usual.]]>