Innovation in 2017

Social Media’s role in spreading Fake News

Written by Claire Ciantar

Fake news is a concept that has become known to the world in recent times. It is definitely a contentious idea that attracts many different opinions and beliefs.

I read Claire Wardle’s post expressing her predictions for journalism in 2017. She focuses on the spread of misinformation through social media and how verification of all information is necessary to eliminate fake news.

Claire says that collaborative creation of visual cues would be one of the ways for the general population to distinguish truth from falsity.

I agree with Claire. I think that with such a ubiquity of misinformation, procedures such as visual cues must be put in place to avoid spreading false information. I think it would make the social side of the web more user-friendly when it comes to determining what’s true and what’s not.

However, when reading through Almar Latour’s, ‘Thanks #FakeNews’ I realised a very important point. Almar argues that while fake news is still an extremely serious matter, the blame of spreading that misinformation shouldn’t be placed on social media. Almar says fake news should encourage stronger reporting and he predicts a rise in vigorous, quality journalism as a result.

I agree with them both, to a point. I think that the problem of fake news and the scattering of misinformation needs to be tackled. However, I don’t believe the responsibility of doing so should be left entirely to one field.

Claire is right; there needs to be regulations in place, collaboratively set by social media organisations, to reduce sharing of false information. I don’t think that will solely cure the problem though.

Like Almar, I like the idea that fake news has the potential to do good and remind journalists of the importance of truth when reporting. Yet, I definitely think accurate reporting alone cannot fix the situation.

There needs to be a combination of various players to resolve the problem of fake news. It is our job as journalists of the future to adhere to our values of truth and accuracy as best we can and if we do this, we will be on our way to eliminating misinformation.  


About the author

Claire Ciantar