#fakenews not slowing down

Is it just my perception or is the fake news phenomenon not slowing down at all? When Facebook announced that it would weed out false reporting I was hopeful it would come to an end. Instead, the frequency of misleading sponsored posts on my timeline has increased and the phenomenon is getting deeper ingrained into our journalistic and even scientific culture. Let me tell you how.

Fake news

Political aspects aside, fake news is mainly the result of the clickbait phenomenon and our society’s obsession with short-term financial gain. 21st century man is bombarded with information. To stand out, headlines need to be increasingly sensational to be clicked, and clicks equal advertising revenue.

When Facebook announced that it would actively ban false news and hoaxes, I was hopeful. In vain, it turns out. The first approach using ‘disputed flags’ didn’t work, so they decided to strike repeat offenders where it hurts and remove advertising rights. Extremely noble of a commercial enterprise.

Come 2018, Zuckerberg and company introduced the new algorithm, promising to improve the user experience and weeding out companies cluttering user’s news feeds. Even though it’s fair to state that this may have been motivated primarily to push companies toward paid advertising, it still sounded beneficial for the user base.

Zuckerberg’s wish for the audience to spend less time on his network might actually turn into reality a little too quickly. Advertisers are getting increasingly nervous over users spending less time on Facebook.

Is this why I am increasingly seeing blatantly hoaxed suggested and promoted content? Straight out lies and stolen trademarked news logos are everywhere. Is Facebook quickly grabbing the revenue it can get, thinking about the next earnings report and the stock price?

Fake news in my Facebook news feed

Two fake news stories that popped up promoted posts in my Facebook news feed, in the past week

Not that Facebook is the sole culprit. The clickbait phenomenon is working its way down journalism and science as well. Take the much publicized ‘scientific’ conclusion that the first modern Britons had dark skin and blue eyes. Not only is this combination statistically highly improbable, it has been relatively well-accepted that the blue-eye mutation is more recent, making such a characteristic even more unlikely. While the initial announcement got plastered over virtually every news outlet in existence, doubts about the validity of this claim were deemed less click-worthy and did not warrant as much attention.

Is journalism quietly ditching fact-checking and research? It would appear so. So what is a journalists job evolving towards? Allow me to answer that question with a screenshot of tweets by a journalist for a major international news outlet.

Journalist on Twitter

 

Quality journalism is making way for clickbaity articles like the boy who laid eggs and poop toys. Just be mindful of this and get your news from as many angles as you can.

 

 /naggingmodeoff

14 Responses to “ #fakenews not slowing down ”

  1. Thomas Arney

    Oh, come on, mainstream media has been bullshit for ages. Infotainment – read all about it!
    And of course it’s about financial gain, what planet do you live on where that doesn’t apply?
    Well, the mainstream media get lots of satisfaction from driving their agenda, so there’s that.

  2. Tim Michiels

    I really, really hate fake news… it’s a waste of time and it creates unrealities… it’s sad the human kind has come to this…

    • Thomas Arney

      That’s been going on for ages – previously called editorial policy. Maybe you never stopped to think about what was reported on, and more interestingly, what wasn’t reported on…..
      Don’t drag mankind into it, it’s Marxist academia and so-called journalism. Hand in hand they try to shape our worldview. Making us use empty terms like “humankind” for example.

    • Tim Michiels

      Thomas; there is a difference in not reporting a topic, partially telling the facts or a dictatorship prohibiting reporting certain topics (for political reasons). What I hate is “creating” events that never happened. This trend is increasing dramatically. At all levels you now see people writing “fake news”. Hence my comment that human kind has become a sad species… lying to itself constantly… people read social media and have no idea anymore what is true or not… very, very sad….

    • Thomas Arney

      Tim Michiels
      No real difference, the outcome is a distorted view of reality in either case. Media has been making mountains out of molehills forever, and vice versa (ignoring monumental events because they don’t like them).

    • Tim Michiels
  3. Thomas Arney

    Here’s a fresh example of how media takes one event and spins it like hell:
    https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/politics-news/supreme-court-won-t-hear-daca-case-n851186

    No, the Supreme Court hasn’t said anything about DACA – all they’ve said is that they don’t want to pick a case from a court two steps down, they want to let the normal process run it’s course. The SCOTUS rarely allows cases to jump the line. No actual news here people.

  4. Thank you for your blog post.Really thank you! Awesome.

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