Don’t Believe Everything You Read Online

15 November 2016 | Billy Thompson

In this age we are living in, social media plays a huge role in the way news is read and shared. You could say, social media has the power to influence people in some serious issues.

I’ve spoken about this before. Back in September, during the first Presidential debate between Donald Trump and Hilary Clinton, millions of pro-Trump posts on Twitter were found out to be fake.

The tweets were posted by fake accounts who spammed Twitter with pro-Trump and anti-Clinton propaganda. This essentially made Trump look far more popular than Clinton, which theoretically could have swayed undecided voters with the opinion: “If everyone else is supporting Trump, why shouldn’t I?”

That incident was a good example of how powerful social media can be. But there has been another story arise this week that backs up my point.

Facebook has come under fire with many accusations that the site boosted fake news stories during the US Presidential election campaign.

Lots of liberal stories were appearing in many users ‘trending stories’ box. This was apparently due to the Facebook moderators being anti-Trump.

In response to this accusation, the moderators at Facebook were fired and replaced with an algorithm, that discovered and posted the most popular stories without a biased opinion being involved.

Many of these posts were proved to be completely false, made up stories, with lots being propaganda that could definitely have swayed undecided voter’s opinions.

Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, has said the accusations were “crazy” and more than 99% of content on the site “is authentic”.

But of course he would say that. This is obviously bad PR for Mr Zuckerberg and his company, so his approach has been deny, deny, deny.

I can’t say I believe him. Facebook is such a huge global social media platform (over one billion active users) and easily has the power to influence a large amount of the world’s population. 

After all, lots people believe anything they read on the internet. And I’ve certainly see my fair share of made up nonsense!