Snowden To The World: Stop Letting Facebook Control Your News
In an attempt to rationalize the fact that Donald Trump has been elected as the next president of the United States, a growing movement is lashing out against “fake news sites,” even labeling them responsible for the election results.
Earlier this week, a document “False, Misleading, Clickbait-y, and/or Satirical ‘News’ Sources” was uploaded to Facebook by a user named Melissa Zimdars. The document made the rounds on social media, adding fuel to the fake news fire. Despite the fact that Zimdars’ list ironically lacks proper citation, blatantly targets right-wing outlets, and includes perfectly legitimate sites for no apparent reason, the Los Angeles Times published the false, misleading, clickbait-y document, lending it an air of legitimacy.
The irony in the assistant professor’s project is that it mirrors everything she is warning others about. Although it is prefaced with a disclaimer, the document is being shared by “legitimate” news outlets as a legitimate report. Some of it is true and some of it is cited, but overall, it’s a poor resource to rely on for guidance on reputable news outlets. It almost makes one wonder if this young teacher is conducting her own social experiment to see how seriously people will take a Google document uploaded to Facebook.
Fake news sites are certainly problematic in a world where the majority of people get their news from social networks; a good portion of those people don’t even read articles before sharing them. Facebook and Google have responded to the hysteria by announcing their decision to ban what they deem to be fake news sites from their advertising platforms. This is a cause for concern for many reasons.