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The Rise of Fake News

The Rise of Fake News

Reading Time: 3 minutes
How Social Media Has a Fake News Problem

How Social Media Has a Fake News Problem

You’ve probably heard the words “fake news.” Since the 2016 presidential election, the term has been frequently used to describe news articles. Although news published by legitimate news sources may not have been as fake as claimed, fake news has still been a major problem on the Internet.

Netflix’s new documentary, The Social Dilemma, discusses the prevalence of fake news on social media channels. But what, exactly, is fake news?

What Is Fake News?

Although some use the term “fake news” to describe any news that they don’t like, what it actually means is false information that is presented as true. Typically, fake news has a goal of negatively influencing something or negatively impacting someone’s reputation. Sometimes, fake news is aimed simply at making money because the headlines are clickbait, designed to lure in viewers with sensational headlines that are either heavily exaggerated or not true at all.

Who Publishes Fake News?

Sometimes the people posting fake news are individual users who are simply sharing something they’ve read, not realizing that it isn’t true. Others share fake news for malicious reasons. Sometimes, fake news comes from foreign sources intent on influencing an event, such as the presidential election. It can be difficult to shut down fake news websites when they’re hosted in foreign countries where American laws have no jurisdiction.

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Why Is Fake News a Problem on Social Media?

Fake news is a problem on social media because it’s sensational. Fake news is a lot more newsworthy than real news and because its headlines are often clickbait, fake news articles can trend a lot more quickly than real news can. In addition, many people believe what they read on social media. These fake news articles often receive more engagement than real news because they’re more exciting.

Social media is a great place to share content. Many social media sites, such as Facebook, include sharing news in their mission statements. However, if something doesn’t violate the social media platform’s guidelines, people can post whatever they want, whether it’s true or not. There isn’t necessarily any feature of the social media site that tells people how credible a source is. Many users don’t take the time to do that research themselves.

How Can We Combat Fake News?

Because social media is increasingly becoming how people get their news, whether it’s real or not, it’s important to address fake news. It may not be possible for social media platforms to police what people are posting and prevent fake news from disseminating on their websites. That may mean it falls on users to learn how to tell the difference between real and fake news.

What Can Businesses Do to Combat Fake News?

Businesses can help to combat fake news by ensuring that all of their content is from reputable sources. Ensure that any blog posts are well-researched. Link to your sources. Even if fake news gets more engagement, we can help combat its spread by sharing more real news. Lies may spread more quickly, but posting the truth can help give readers an alternative and may make them think more about believing what they’re reading without checking to see if it’s real.

Need some help growing your web presence and strengthening your brand? You’ve come to the right place.

The Privacy Dilemma

The Privacy Dilemma

Reading Time: 2 minutes
How Social Media Algorithms Affect User Privacy

How Social Media Algorithms Affect User Privacy

Netflix recently released a documentary called The Social Dilemma that showed how social media has negatively impacted people’s lives. From privacy issues to social media addiction, the documentary has demonstrated that there is a definite dark side to the social media platforms that have become so ubiquitous in our lives.

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How Do Social Media Platforms Make Money?

Most social media platforms are free for users to create accounts. Even companies can create business accounts with social media sites and it doesn’t cost them a thing. So how do social media platforms make money?

They collect data. This data is collected by the platform’s algorithm and use it to generate ads paid for by other companies that target interested users. In addition, social media platforms also often sell that data to third-party companies.

What Does a Social Media Algorithm Do?

All social media sites run on an algorithm. This algorithm analyzes all user actions, tracking which pages you visit, what posts you like, who you’re friends with, where you check in, and any personal information you enter into your profile. The algorithm collects all of this data and uses it to provide you with more content you’re interested in.

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How Do Social Media Platforms Invade Users’ Privacy?

Have you ever wondered how social media platforms know exactly what content to show you? How they suggest articles for you to read that you’re interested in? How they invited you to follow people that you might know? Social media platforms do all of this by collecting data on their users.

If you’ve ever seen the TV show Parks and Recreation, there’s a scene in which the character Ron Swanson discovers that his computer has been collecting information about him in order to show him ads for products he might want. Ron Swanson immediately throws the computer away. The character is notoriously private, but the point stands that it’s important for everyone to be aware of the data they’re sharing online, even inadvertently.

What Do Social Media Sites Do With My Data?

Social media sites do gather data from users in order to keep them engaged with new content that they’ll like. While users may see this as beneficial, it’s actually a double-edged sword. Sure, users get more content they’ll enjoy, but at the same time, they’re also providing the social media platform’s algorithm with even more data. Many social media sites don’t hesitate to sell the data they collect to third-party companies. It’s also possible for data to be stolen by hackers, bots, and malware.

How Can Users Protect Their Data Online?

Social media sites do offer some privacy settings that users can adjust. These settings can help keep other users from seeing a user’s personal data. You can control who can see what on your social media account. You can also hide certain activities on the website to prevent others from seeing. It can be a good idea to block location tracking so the social media platform can’t see your location.

Need some help growing your web presence and strengthening your brand? You’ve come to the right place.