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The Nexus of Fake News and Social Networks



In the ancient times, the most prominent mode of news transfer was the distribution of pamphlets and word of mouth. This clearly was not credible and was biased and had been determinant in waging wars among nations as we can see browsing through the pages of history. We have come a long way since. With the advent of this decade, our society has seen a plethora of sources of news primarily based on the Internet, the revolution of our times and access to these using smartphones. With the surge of people owning a smartphone the gap of known and the unknown has been bridged and we are progressing towards a more balanced and coherent society.

However, there is always a negative side to it. With the no of websites sprouting like never before, fake news circulation is imminent. We have witnessed incidents be it the false news that Clinton and its campaign head indulging in child trafficking or Pope Francis endorsing Donald Trump. Among all these social media has served a back seat with the no of false news proliferating in this platform the most. Social Media works on algorithms where news is disseminated based on past clicks and then they are clustered with like-minded individuals which may result in biased opinions and this will be heightened if there are issues with the authenticity of the news per se.

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has been left with little room but to act. He has taken many initiatives and has tied up with organizations which will assess each and every flagged link in Facebook. However, there is a problem with this. It will be naive to assume that the people apportioned with the task will be solely objective as the news will be marred by their personal judgments. Incidents like the newly circulated 2000 rupees notes had an in-built GPS for tracking, originating from WhatsApp and making it to the leading news channel also denote that there is a serious problem that needs to be sorted in the news consumption sphere.

Having said that there is no denying of the learning curve of the social media and if properly backed by government policies these platforms can augment the rate of development of any nation and the world as a whole. The news channels and the people posting links in the social platform needs to understand the editorial responsibility of the news industry to preserve the credibility and reinstall the trust which it bore from its genesis.

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