If internet users are predisposed to believe false information that confirms their prejudices — and if they enthusiastically take part in spreading conspiracy theories — then falsehoods may be endemic to mass online communication platforms. This issue is more difficult for Facebook, whose algorithms rely heavily on a social signal that comes from what a user’s friends are sharing. If its users promote unreliable information — particularly if it is not easily categorised as “news” — it will spread rapidly.
“Social media users tend to share news that confirms their beliefs…” – just like I am doing with this post!
Very gratifying to see wide spread recognition of the harms being caused by social media sharing and fake and exaggerated news spread as propaganda.
The problem, however, is not limited to political topics. Fake posts cover a wide genre of topics, from politics to science to humor to engineering. So far the news media only sees the problem as a political propaganda issue – but this challenge for social media platforms is much deeper than that.