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Essay on Fake News on Facebook

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Today, social media is one of the best ways of spreading information and connecting with people around the world. Social media offers a form of interaction while giving you that information that other types of media do not. It also allows many corporations to better connect with their customers. In fact, according to a survey from the Pew Research Center in Washington DC, “67 percent of survey participants say they get their news from social media in general, and 45 percent say they get it from Facebook alone”. Yet, in our technologically connected world false information frequently travels faster than the truth and facts. This is seen especially in politics when the media completely lies or changes the actuality to satisfy and make one party look better or make another party look bad in the public’s eye to get them to like them.

Facebook is undoubtedly the largest social media source of news for Americans, which means there is a great amount of fake news on the site. There are many issues with this social media platform and as seen in the article from the New York Times” Defiant Zuckerberg Says Facebook Won’t Police Political Speech”. The article talked about how Facebook was accused of having fake political news on its site. Mark Zuckerberg, the chief executive of Facebook spoke about this in an address at Georgetown University. Zuckerberg called for more free speech, and I completely disagree with him. He is at fault for allowing lies and falsehoods to appear in Facebooks advertisements. Free speech is what our country is built upon and one should be allowed to say what they want too. But the reader or viewer should not have to decide if the information is true or false. I don't believe in publishing false information and lies, because fake news will give people the wrong idea about important political information and steer them in the wrong direction.

Mark Zuckerberg is taking a whole different approach to the fake news allegations surrounding Facebook. After Senator Elizabeth Warren accused Facebook of being a “disinformation-for-profit machine” Zuckerberg felt he had to say something. He took a trip to Georgetown University and made a 35-minute speech. Zuckerberg defended Facebook in such a way by saying Facebook was created to give people a voice and bring them together. Zuckerberg defended his case using the First Amendment and free speech while mentioning people like Martin Luther King Jr and Fredrick Douglass. He was defending something that our society wants to change, because of the hate talking, vicious content, and false information released to the public.

The New York Times article also mentioned Elizabeth Warren’s shots taken at the company. In a tweet, Warren stated “Facebook is actively helping Trump spread lies and misinformation. Facebook already help elect Donald Trump once. They might do it again and profit off of it.” Warren clearly believes that Facebook is so powerful that false information that has spread can hurt others and affect the most important part of politics such as the presidential election. Yet, Zuckerberg and Facebook will not try to regulate political speech advertisements. Instead, Facebook has launched a new plan that will not moderate politicians or fact-check political ads because even if there were false comments by political leaders, they were eye-grabbing and entertaining. They believe it is in the people’s best interest to listen and debate. What's the point of publishing false information? To mess with people's thoughts? That does not seem like what we should be doing in politics and as an American citizens.

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Having many people view the news through social media hurts the perception and truth about things. Social media is the problem. Almost all social media outlets similar to Facebook like Twitter and Instagram will allow you to post almost anything, while traditional media establishments like CNN, MSNBC, and CNBC will not allow political advertisements with false content. The most recent case of a false political ad was published on Facebook. The Trump campaign released a 30-second video lying saying Joe Biden, a presidential candidate, committed corrupt acts in Ukraine. Most broadcast networks refused to post this, while other social media channels spread it like wildfire. Facebook did not take down the ad even after Biden's Campaign said it was false. Senator Warren attempting to prove a point released a fake advertisement of her own saying Facebook supports Trump and his re-election. I don't believe that was the right choice, even though she is trying to prove a good point. Releasing the ad will cause more tension and argument about the topic. Zuckerberg has basically taken the stance of removing ads will “hurt” our Democracy, which is false. He claims that it would be too hard to decide which ads were political or not, so there’s no point going down that road. Not to mention, Zuckerberg could be all for political ads considering the large profit Facebook makes from them.

After taking a deeper look into social media and political news, I have learned the spreading of fake news is an important problem we're facing in society. Falsehoods spread insanely fast on social media. So, the best thing to do would be to restructure social media systems to decrease the effect caused by people who spread false information on purpose. For example, on Facebook, users do not choose the source of the articles they see. Picking sources such as television, newspapers, and online news websites allow for “true news” because they look at who the source is before publishing, unlike most social media. This is not true for Facebook. Facebook allows advertisers with bad ideas in mind to pay to place their news in the user’s newsfeed. This can happen because Facebook is set up to show many different articles from different places. This can be from previously utilized sources or friends. Fake news takes advantage of the idea that individuals are more likely to accept and share articles that are similar to what they believe is true. Facebook should make it harder for people who spread fake news to let users see their ads. They don’t care if ads are truthful, Facebook is just giving people the most eye-catching headlines.

Considering Facebook’s plans for the future are not in support of getting rid of false political ads, there needs to be something else done. Right now, mainstream printed media like newspapers and journals have built relationships with their readers based on reputation. They carefully check information before publishing it, which gives them this reputation. There are no editors on social media which allows information to spread wildly. Although social media companies like Facebook have control of the spreading of fake news and choose not to do anything, there is something that we as viewers and readers can do.

It is not the simplest or easiest thing to do, but there are some steps to follow to see if your news is reliable or not. When you see news that seems suspicious, check if other news agencies have the same topics. To determine whether or not it's false you can check the data and links they refer to as their sources. Other signs that they are suspicious are news pieces without a name of an author and articles that come from non-reliable news sources. If I were to look at the false advertisement that was released about Joe Biden, I would look for the sources and where they got their information from. I think that people should not just read the headline and not look into the article. That is one of the biggest things. Reading just a little bit of it, won't let you know if it is false or not.

It is disgusting to see where our country is with the “fake news” idea. Especially relating to the Facebook article. Yes, we have the first amendment and free speech, but we don't have the right to spread lies that will damage someone's career. It is sickening to see that our world, especially in politics has gone from making someone look bad just to make themselves look better, instead of showing your own best qualities. A true American would not be manipulating the world to believe certain things. That is not what our country's basic principles were founded on. If anything, fake news will cause us to go further away from Democracy and our founding beliefs. Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook are not helping the situation at all. They are making it seem as if they cannot stop fake news because it goes against free speech. But is there really any point to it if everything people see, hear, and talk about is fake? That would mean people all around the world are debating about things that do not matter and are not relevant. So, the things that actually matter and are true would not be the main story. Making advertisements that falsely depict politics is horrible. In most cases, fake news will draw more attention than actual news stories that matter. People could make wrong decisions and could hurt them. All it will create is confusion and unrest in society. The spread of fake news ultimately impacts the way that we interpret and respond to real news.

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Essay on Fake News on Facebook. (2023, October 09). Edubirdie. Retrieved March 2, 2024, from https://edubirdie.com/examples/essay-on-fake-news-on-facebook/
“Essay on Fake News on Facebook.” Edubirdie, 09 Oct. 2023, edubirdie.com/examples/essay-on-fake-news-on-facebook/
Essay on Fake News on Facebook. [online]. Available at: <https://edubirdie.com/examples/essay-on-fake-news-on-facebook/> [Accessed 2 Mar. 2024].
Essay on Fake News on Facebook [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2023 Oct 09 [cited 2024 Mar 2]. Available from: https://edubirdie.com/examples/essay-on-fake-news-on-facebook/
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