By Emiree Campbell
Fake news has always been a problem. However with the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic and the election, fake news is more dangerous now than ever before. Former President Donald Trump can be the blame. The media was infested with Trump and his publicity stunts for so long that it is possible that reporters are also the blame for the spread of misinformation.
Trump and his heavy social media inclusion in most news publications made him an even more authoritative power.Which made it so easy for him to influence so many. Audiences soon believed that everything he said was true.
According to a NPR Newscast titled “ Examining How The Trump Years Helped To Shape The Media” NPR reporter David Folkenflik reports on how journalists faced Trump and how it changed them. The newcast mentions that the past four years were a constant challenge for members of the media. Trump’s departing business model attacked the media and led a sustained attack on truth. Trump’s constant disinformation and welcoming of conspiracy theories and claiming he won an election that he did not leave journalists fighting an never ending battle. Some may have even joined him.
Carl Cameron, former Fox News Chief Political Correspondent said “ It’s up to the media to be believable, and it shouldn’t be so easy for one guy to knock it all down.”
What’s even more shocking about this is that the very reason Carl left fox news was because Trump won the election. According to CNN, Cameron said “The news division at Fox News Channel has always worked hard to be truly fair and balanced and to be accurate, the opinion hosts in prime-time and elsewhere on Fox had become more than I could stand”.
“Trump’s going out just as he came in. The media, caught in his vortex, has changed appreciably.” said David.
While reading Niemanlab’s article titled “Fear, surprise, disgust: Fake news spreads faster than some real news on twitter” It wasn’t surprising to read that fake news reached and spreaded faster than the truth.
Fake news for some odd reason is exciting to most. It is the “what” that someone is hiding. It’s almost like gossip, it’s just a rumor but it’s exciting and carries weight. It won’t die down easily.Which is why social media is flooded with it.
The article mentioned that MIT researchers found that false news is 70 percent more likely to be shared on Twitter than true stories. What was shocking is that researchers believed at one point that bots were responsible for this plague of bad news when in all reality it was humans with very small followers or fan bases.
According to a CBS Newscast titled “How social media algorithms shape the way we get information and news” Conserative Politicians and outlets argued that platforms are biased to the problem at hand. It’s hard to completely disagree especially when platforms like Facebook blame the algorithms.
Algorithms are used by many social media platforms and it is responsible for showing users what they want to see. It does so by remembering the things you liked, reposted or shared. It gives one content similar to their worldview.
So when Facebook and other platforms notice a user likes content filled with hate speech or violence towards a particular group of people this behavior should raise some flags and call for action. Although it may be hard because billions of users use their media accounts daily, it’s a price platforms can pay when lives are now at stake.