Why Facebook Cannot be a News Source

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Why Facebook Cannot be a News Source

Credits to Facebook

Credits to Facebook

Credits to Facebook

Renee Chaples, Producer of the Void

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Facebook usage hit a hard decline after the creator, Mark Zuckerberg, was accused of “setting up a fraudulent scheme to ‘weaponize’ data” as stated by The Guardian. Although he was not found guilty of anything, Facebook is still responsible for the spreading of fake news.

Research done by Princeton University proved that Facebook users over the age of 65 were more likely to be sharing fake news. The research conducted concluded that it is not the fault of the elderly for the spread of fake news, but rather that they are not aware they should be checking the sources. Alongside that, the study discovered that fake news stories became even more abundant during and after the 2016 presidential election. The Verge states, “At least one study has found that pro-Trump fake news likely persuaded some people to vote for him over Clinton, influencing the election’s outcome.”

In an NPR article, the idea that the elections and other political beliefs were being influenced by Facebook were also heavily debated. NPR states, “a recent study conducted by a research team at Oxford University found that during the period of time between the first presidential debate and the second, one-third of pro-Trump tweets and nearly one-fifth of pro-Clinton tweets came from automated accounts.” This means social media users would share the posts from the Clinton or Trump bot and would spread false information manufactured by the bots. When the fake information from the bots begins to spread, news articles and other heated topic debates would credit the bots’ information, making the false news even harder to catch.  Douglass Guilbeault, one of the lead researchers, told NPR, “They reinforce the sense of polarization in the atmosphere,” he said. “Because bots don’t tend to be mild-mannered, judicial critics. They are programmed to align themselves with an agenda that is unambiguously representative of a particular party. … It’s all ‘Crooked Hillary’ and ‘Trump is a puppet.’ “

Although the 2016 presidential election is now a thing of the past, the issue of widespread fake news from social media is still very prominent to this day. NBC News discovered that in the present day, fake news is being spread far more than factual news and the culprits are real people. NPR states, “And it wasn’t bots spreading most of the falsehoods, they found. It was real people doing most of it. Usually ordinary people, too, they found: so-called ‘verified’ users and those with many followers were not usually the source of some of the most popular untrue viral posts.” Subsequently, the FBI to this day is still conducting an investigation as to whether or not the Russians manipulated social media to swing the election to Trump’s favor during 2016.

The world is moving forward very fast in regards to the technological advancements, but many people of today do not understand that not everything they see on the internet is true. Moral of the story, Facebook is not a reliable source of any kind of news.

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