Social Media Versus Lies and False Claims

By Emiree Campbell

Misinformation, disinformation, lies and false claims are officially getting out of hand. Social media will succumb to this falsehood with no return. This is not something that can be easily fixed. It will take a miracle to stop the dissemination of lies.

An article from Nieman says that the NewsGuard team has so far identified 371 sites guilty of publishing COVID-19 falsehoods in their Coronavirus Misinformation Tracking Center, that’s more than 80 percent that has been flagged by the team for publishing misinformation about other topics unrelated to the pandemic. The topics are centered around the election, 5G towers, and the vaccine. 

What I found most interesting from the article was that it mentioned steps needed to fix this issue. The first step suggested that advertisers, ad exchanges, and agencies take action by prioritizing misinformation and promote the truth. The second step states that platforms need to take more responsibility and provide more transparency. The last step requires everyone to develop strong digital news and media literacy.

These steps are a start but it’s not going to solve the issue at hand. Publishers will find a way to continue to harm and obscure the truth. It’s bound to happen. People are easily influenced and as long as people are able to post false content, rumors and lies will continue to fly. Big tech giants can’t solve the issue by blocking and flagging everything and everyone. People will argue that their rights are being violated and that platforms don’t value others’ opinions or beliefs that go against the main (truthful) narrative.

The recent Bloomberg news piece on Trump possibly returning to Facebook made me think, this is a huge mistake. Former President Donald Trump’s social media post reflected heavy lies and disinformation. He caused the attack on the capital that resulted in five deaths. I think Facebook should make an example out of Trump as other similar leaders are watching. Twitter chose to ban Trump indefinitely and I agree with this action. Trump intentionally wants to influence the public with lies. He has to be held accountable and big tech giants cannot give him that kind of power on their platforms. Enough is enough and something needs to be done. The internet is drowning with lies, sooner than later we won’t know what to believe. 

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