1) Electronic media is becoming popular day by day and people are reading news on social networking websites such as Facebook, twitter and webmail websites such as google, yahoo and AOL. These platfor

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1)

Electronic media is becoming popular day by day and people are reading news on social networking websites such as Facebook, twitter and webmail websites such as google, yahoo and AOL. These platforms became a new base for spreading fake news and influencing masses. In research, it is found that Facebook spreads fake news more than its competitors google and twitter. It is shocking to know that a person open fired on a local pizza restaurant because of a fabricated news that he read. Fake news could result in distrust on the organizations or political parties and could damage the reputation.

All that is needed for spreading fake news on social media is creating an account using personal details such as name, location and picture that are common. Some countries have a restriction to have a phone number that can be verified, but procuring a mobile number using fake identity is not a big trouble in most of the places. Next important thing is making the fake news post popular so that It will used by the algorithms for targeting ads to the users. A post that is famous gets more views and attention and that is how fake news gets spread. “A team of researchers led by Andrew Guess of Princeton University tracked the internet use of over 3000 Americans in the lead up to the 2016 presidential election. They found Facebook to be the referrer site for untrustworthy news sources over 15% of the time. By contrast, Facebook referred users to authoritative news sites only 6% of the time.”( Mark Travers, Facebook Spreads Fake News Faster Than Any Other Social Website, According To New Research).

Facebook is aware of the fake news problem and is working on containing the problem. Most of the fake news are spread for economic incentives and Facebook is focusing on that to reduce the number of games. Facebook is planning to develop machine learning algorithms to recognize fake news based on previous fake news that were posted. News tools are also being developed to recognize and control the spreading of these fake news. “When it comes to fighting false news, one of the most effective approaches is removing the economic incentives for traffickers of misinformation. We’ve found that a lot of fake news is financially motivated. These spammers make money by masquerading as legitimate news publishers and posting hoaxes that get people to visit their sites, which are often mostly ads.”( Adam Mosseri, Vice President, News Feed, Facebook).

There are several organizations that validate the authenticity and integrity of the news. Facebook is partnering with those organizations to filter out fake news and not show them on the top of the news feed. Big social media companies could counteract fake news by preventing advertisers from targeting users on the basis of political views, or even by suspending all targeted ads during election campaigns(Christoph Aymanns, Network Theorist). Users should also be educated to check the authenticity of the news and necessary tools should be provided so that the impact can be reduced.

References:


https://www.forbes.com/sites/traversmark/2020/03/21/facebook-spreads-fake-news-faster-than-any-other-social-website-according-to-new-research/#514b41ed6e1a


https://www.facebook.com/facebookmedia/blog/working-to-stop-misinformation-and-false-news


https://www.chicagotribune.com/opinion/commentary/ct-perspec-fake-news-google-facebook-0904-story.html


https://academicguides.waldenu.edu/library/fakenews/Whatsfakenews


2)

Unfortunately, the brutal truth, is that we live in a world where convenient solutions of how to break the law are often thought about before the law is put into place. In the case of Facebook and trolls using this medium to disperse havoc too, we have seen so. Although Facebook has in place verification and authentication requirements, like providing a unique phone number, minimum age consent, etc. trolls convenient purchase multiple SIM cards and create numerous profiles within minutes. Thus, although I would like to jump on the bandwagon and demand that the government regulates Facebook, in all practicality this seems impractical and unreasonable to achieve.

Removing ourselves from these platforms is no longer a realistic option. “Companies like Facebook aren’t just a bit of fun; they are an integral part of life for millions of people. The internet at its best connects and empowers it is worth fighting for. But the way companies operate has not been under enough scrutiny until recently” (Afoko, 2019). While there may be reasonable concern about abuse of social media, there’s also reasonable concern that too much regulation could prevent important conversations about topics such as abortion, online education and reforms in traditional schools, foreign policy, healthcare, immigration, gun control and emerging firearms technology. Depending on who is making and enforcing these regulations that could have negative impacts on any side of any issue. “Those who oppose regulation also bring up the notion of competition. They fear that excessive regulation will serve to discourage innovation” (Arnold, 2018). We cannot undermine the right of freedom of speech, which is often an assumed privilege. Regulating social media sites like Facebook by the government would mean will stifling that right and giving the government the right to disperse its propaganda willfully and legally.

In reality, Facebook already owns the lion’s share of much of the world’s social networking companies; Facebook, Messenger, Instagram and WhatsApp making Facebook an integral part of everyone’s life rather than a luxury. And Mr. Zuckerberg is moving to integrate the messaging services he owns, further tightening the networks of users across all of his services. Additionally as seen during Mark Zuckerberg’s senate hearing, regulating his company would only help him pass the buck. Giving the government the right to regulate would also mean that if the ball drops and a negatively socially inciting incident occurs, Facebook would simply wash its hands off any social and political implications and blame the Government.

“It’s doubtful that most people who think that some social media regulation is a good thing believe that a nanny government should okay everything that’s posted lest people be exposed to something upsetting” (Cunningham, 2018). It’s also equally doubtful that those concerned about the extent of regulations would prefer to see a social media oligarchy where the richest participants are allowed to spread dangerous misinformation for the sake of profit and their own power. Hopefully when the powers that be discuss regulation, common sense will prevail.

References

Afoko, C. (2019, April). Government can’t regulate Facebook – it’s up to all of us. Retrieved from The Guardian: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/apr/01/government-regulate-facebook-mark-zuckerberg-social-media

Arnold, A. (2018, July). Do We Really Need To Start Regulating Social Media? Retrieved from Forbes.com: https://www.forbes.com/sites/andrewarnold/2018/07/30/do-we-really-need-to-start-regulating-social-media/#3c1e7b07193d

Cunningham, J. (2018). Should We Regulate Facebook And Google? Retrieved from Chief Executive: https://chiefexecutive.net/should-regulate-facebook-google/

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