During the recent election it was found that the most-shared Facebook stories may have been bogus pro-Trump articles, some of them produced by a fake-news mill run by Macedonian teenagers. There were also fake pro-Clinton articles too. Consumers would click-on what they thought was a news story and end up wading through endless advertisements. It was very much a money-making venture for the ones originating the sites as websites would be shared and the ads would be accessed by more and more people.
Now there is pressure on such sites as Facebook and Twitter to crack down on this practice. On KVNU’s For the People program on Friday, USU instructor in social media and communication, Preston Parker was our guest. He sees a problem with companies deciding what is news and news-worthy.
Parker said, “If you’re saying ‘fake’…you’re putting on a definition of quality that you’re saying ‘this is low-quality news’ because it’s not based on fact. As soon as you start saying something like it’s not reputable, it’s low quality, well that’s a relative term according to whom?”
He said the issue is understanding what ‘reputable’ is and what ‘quality’ is and sometimes that is a personal decision. When it comes to Twitter, the President-elect has proven to be a prolific tweeter instead of using traditional news media to get his message out.
“But think about it from a general sense – this is traditional news outlets…news media who have always been those gate-keepers, who have always been the ones that have provided the information to the masses, to the public. They get that exclusive interview, they get that exclusive access to get that quote that they can share. But now that quote can just be shared directly to the masses”, said Parker.
He said now the media is often pulling from people’s twitter feeds and using those quotes in their reporting. A definite shift in how news is covered.