Renowned CBS news anchor Walter Cronkite must be rolling over in his grave. Most U.S. adults (62%) now get news on social media, and 18% do so often, per a new survey by Pew Research Center. Three social media sites dominate news online.
That is why “fake news” is a major issue for marketers. It is almost impossible to control your message in social media. As I’ve stated many times, news and entertainment are now one in the same. Our Twittering President Elect has shown the power of news on social media – we do not need anyone to make sure it is true. But wait.
Finally, CNN has reported that Facebook has announced to will start applying warning labels to some “fake news” stories that users share. Articles that are known to be false — seemingly published with the intent to trick or mislead people — will be marked with what Facebook is calling a “flag.” Below the headline there will be a red label that says “disputed by 3rd Party Fact-Checkers.” Users will be able to click on a “learn why this is disputed” link to get more information.
Facebook will not be doing the fact-checking itself. CEO Mark Zuckerberg has stated that “we do not want to be arbiters of truth ourselves, but instead rely on our community and trusted third parties.” So, those third parties will be fact-checking organization that have committed to the International Fact Checking Code of Principles, which was recently established by Poynter, a journalism organization. Several dozen fact-checking organizations around the world have signed on the code of principles.
Now you will still be able to post whatever you want, no matter how bogus, but now others will see a warning that the story has been disputed as you share.
Hopefully, other social media companies will step up and do the same. At a recent journalism industry conference, Facebook representatives said that addressing the spread of knowingly fake stories is the #1 priority at the highest levels of the company. It is about time.