Facebook announced another quality change to their network; they will now request that members rank news sources for the integrity of the content. Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg stated that ‘too much sensationalism, misinformation and polarization in the world today’ which is a nice way of saying that social media was a loophole for fake and often malicious news sources that were made up in the feverish minds of crazy individuals.
Wikipedia has an editorial censorship process where all sources of information go through validation and verification. While Wikipedia is not a social network or news platform, it cannot succumb to unqualified sources of material, since this would invalidate the content of the site.
Facebook feels that this is also true, to assure that any news and information being posted is accurate and based on fact. Another reason for ranking and censorship is to counter “cyberbullying” where an individual or group can gang up on another and ruin their lives through posting inappropriate material, in most cases slanderous lies accompanying photos, in many cases, edited using digital editors.
Another reason for Zuckerberg new direction is to assure that a lot of local news is trustworthy and of high quality. Global news is much harder to falsify since there are many sources to compare publications, local news is easy to create and to use for creating false facts for future use to be based upon. Facebook will prioritize accredited news sources over private ones, hoping that reliant news sources will provide reliable quality content.
Facebook, in line with true social media spirit, will not censor the content, they will allow their members to rate and rank as well as comment on any news source. The decision to prioritize news sources as well as allow readers to rate and rank we were part of a decision that Zuckerberg pointed out, “Social media enables people to spread information faster than ever before, and if we don’t specifically tackle these problems, then we end up amplifying them.”
45% of all US adults read news via Facebook, and according to a survey perfumed in 2017, over 2 billion Facebook visitors are affected by the false information. The new rating and ranking service will commence next week and comes as a great relief to thousands of publishers represented by the News Media Alliance. NMA President and CEO David Chavern said “What we don’t know is how the proposed system to identify trusted news sources will really work. We will be watching that very closely as the changes are rolled out.”
Zuckerberg hopes that while the recent spate of changes to Facebook’s business profile will affect its global reach, causing a dip in usage for the short term. The quality of the information will increase, and overall long-term usage and reliability of Facebook information should increase.
In a similar vein, Twitter recently released its report on similar internal activities to weed out false news, and in its research to find sources that fueled the Russian intervention in the US presidential campaign it found 6.4 million suspect accounts. Twitter has sent warning letters to 677,000 subscribers and intends to continue monitoring its platform for false and malicious account usage.
Statistics of Social Media in 2017 (Only social media content sharing sites, not chat sites)
- The leading social media platform was Facebook with 1.8 billion users
- Instagram 600 million
- Tumblr 550 million
- Twitter 317 million
- Pinterest 150 million
- Linkedin 106 million
My take on Facebook: They are correct, and about time, however, false information and sensation seekers will continue to find ways to influence the perception of others, especially with the new Ethereum platforms that provide alternatives to social media. The only way to combat this virtual monstrosity is to create a global social media regulatory board made up of the leading social media platforms, where they discuss and create standards for regulating the flow of information.