Are you really, really concerned about this fake news stuff?

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November 30, 2016 by Paul Dughi

 

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We all should be concerned about this fake news stuff. Regardless of where it comes from or where you might run into it, spreading falsehoods makes all of us dumber.

It appears most Americans agree.

73% of American say they are concerned about fake news

Civic Science released a survey of 2,000 adults after the election and it showed 52% said the issue concerns them a lot and another 21% said they have some concerns. Only 19% said it doesn’t concern them. They believe everyone should be informed enough to call out the fake stuff.

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Breaking it down, Civic Science found the following:

  • Democrats were more concerned than Republicans
  • Independents were the largest group not concerned
  • Women were more concerned than men
  • The younger you are, the less concerned you were.
  • Baby Boomers were the most concerned — 57% said “a lot”

Admit it. You sometimes read weird stuff on Facebook — even if you know it might not be true. And you’ve probably shared some of it as well.

RELATED:
Study: Misleading info 90% more popular than accurate info on social media
Admit it. You sometimes read weird stuff on Facebook — even if you know it might not be true.

Combine the facts that more people say they get news from Facebook and that Facebook isn’t in the business of verifying truth and you get a potentially dangerous combination of bad info being put out there and spreading like a virus.

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Is this graphic above real or fake? I HAVE NO IDEA and no way to prove, or dis-prove, it.

All media has been under fire over fake news, but nobody more than Facebook. When you’re the biggest social media and a significant source of news for people, you’re going to get attacked. There’s been accusations that fake news on Facebook skewed the election. It’s put CEO Mark Zuckerberg on the defensive.

“…we don’t want any hoaxes on Facebook. Our goal is to show people the content they will find most meaningful, and people want accurate news. We have already launched work enabling our community to flag hoaxes and fake news, and there is more we can do here. We have made progress, and we will continue to work on this to improve further.

This is an area where I believe we must proceed very carefully though. Identifying the “truth” is complicated. While some hoaxes can be completely debunked, a greater amount of content, including from mainstream sources, often gets the basic idea right but some details wrong or omitted. An even greater volume of stories express an opinion that many will disagree with and flag as incorrect even when factual. I am confident we can find ways for our community to tell us what content is most meaningful, but I believe we must be extremely cautious about becoming arbiters of truth ourselves. — Mark Zuckerberg, CEO, Facebook

RELATED:
Mossberg: Facebook can and should wipe out fake news
Totally false news isn’t a new thing in the United States.

RELATED:
Facebook bans fake news ads, but can the algorithm detect it?
Facebook says it can’t effectively detect fake news or misinformation in its news feed

It seems so easy to just report the truth. It’s not always easy, even for the professionals that have dedicated their careers to doing just that. The spread of false information makes it that much harder because so many people believe the fake stuff that they discount the truth even in the face of evidence.

RELATED:
Why it’s hard to report “the truth”
It’s a tricky thing, this truth stuff. What may seem truthful to some people is rubbish to others.

But it’s not just Facebook, social media, or fake news websites. The mainstream media has played a part as well, spreading stories without checking the facts or accuracy. While it doesn’t happen anywhere near as often as people think, it does happen. And when it does, it undermines the credibility of all media.

RELATED:
When the media reports fake news
How do you know what you’re seeing is real?

 

 

 

 

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