Mrks's Blog

ITSPEA: New Media

Social networks as a means to spread (fake)news

Social networks have made it easy for people to find like minded people and share information with each other. This can a good thing but can also be abused and this is what fake news sites are doing.

Cambridge dictionary dictionary gives fake news this definition - false stories that appear to be news, spread on the internet or using other media, usually created to influence political views or as a joke.

A study was conducted on the topic of Social media and fake news in the 2016 (US) elections. There was a figure showing the share of traffic sources for top 690 US news websites and 65 fake news websites. In the case of fake news website about 40% of the traffic came from social media with the top US websites it was about 10%. This shows a great difference on how different kinds of “news” are shared and how they are polularized.

With the evergrowing ways for people to connect online it gets harder and harder to distinguish between fake and not fake news. This is beeing abused by the news companies even traditional newsoutlets (atleast in Estonia) have sometimes stooped to the low of writing articles with little or no proof behind the articles they publish. I think its mainly to get clicks, meaning more money for the news companies.

What i am getting at is that I sense that with social media as yet another way to publish (fake)news the quality of writing has gone down and also it gets harder to do source checking when articles have been referred multiple times.

Having social media as an outlet for news companies the main impact in my opinion has been the quality of articles going down and the number of articles going up only to get people to click more thus earn more money for the news companies.

Sources: 1.https://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/fake-news 2.https://pubs.aeaweb.org/doi/pdfplus/10.1257/jep.31.2.211