The Bottom Line has addressed fake news once before, but what I’d like to dissect further is the public’s sway on these “fake news” stories and whether tech can alleviate its impact on news outlets.
Sheryl Sandberg (bow down to female execs) said the better question to ask one another is “do distributors of content have a responsibility to vet the content for truth”? I believe all parties here have a sense of accountability. Social networking sites should inherently develop an advanced algorithm, the “driverless car of fact-checking”, if you will, that recognizes the authenticity of information, whereas editorial boards for newspapers and digital news sites like The New York Times and CNBC, should be 100 percent aware of the content going through the funnel when it gets delivered. Facebook is considering implementing such a system with news organizations such as The Associated Press, Politifact and Snopes, but there it will surely be a long road ahead.
As for the general public, be alert. Don’t believe every news piece you see online. Though social media networks are the top distributors of news these days, always be cautious with the information you digest and share with others.
Trust is crucial. The rise of false news is eroding the trust people place on one another; and of course, PR heavily depends on relationship building of which trust is the founding pillar.
Report fake news (it takes a few steps and it’s totally worth it) wherever, whenever you see it because it truly is becoming an epidemic, one that will soon lead to a battle for journalistic freedom.