The U.S. presidential election last month did more than just open the front door to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue to Donald Trump. It’s also initiated a period of national soul searching about how we get our news. Facebook in particular has come under fire for failing to distinguish or deprecate “fake news” and downright propaganda from accurate reporting in users’ news feeds.
But while the social network undeniably plays a major role in unleashing the tide of misinformation we’re all now swimming against, it’s just one part of a larger problem. Chances are it won’t be resolved any time soon, so the question becomes simply how to limit its influence.
MISINFORMATION DOESN’T DIE OUT
A number of partisan websites have emerged, on both the right and left, that either put a distinct political spin on news events or fabricate stories altogether. A recent BuzzFeed analysis concluded that between a quarter and a third of the stories on these sites are either completely false or contain significant amounts of falsities. And while BuzzFeed found a somewhat higher volume of right-leaning than left-leaning fake news, it’s clear there’s a significant amount of misinformation flowing on both sides.