Can social media platforms put an end to fake news?

World Today

Spotting fact from fiction these days can be a daily challenge for readers, as viewers and voters are trying to stay informed.

CGTN’s Jim Spellman takes a closer look at the impact of ‘fake news’ in this age of social sharing.

Can social media platforms put an end to fake news?

Can social media platforms put an end to fake news?

Spotting fact from fiction these days can be a daily challenge for readers, as viewers and voters are trying to stay informed. CGTN’s Jim Spellman takes a closer look at the impact of ‘fake news’ in this age of social sharing.

The notion that millions around the globe could be deceived by the same piece of wrong information seems as unlikely as it is unbelievable. But in this age of social sharing, has sensationalism trumped truth?

And should social networking sites like Facebook, Google, and Twitter companies through which almost all news flows get involved?

Fake news lies packaged to look like real news is usually spread on social media sites and often intended to do political damage.

During the U.S. presidential election, fake news was common and may have even had an impact on its outcome: Donald Trump winning over rival Hillary Clinton.

One fake news story falsely claimed Clinton ran a child prostitution ring out of a pizza parlor in Washington D.C.

This fake story spread online with the hashtag #Pizzagate. First, the story did political damage to Clinton and later put lives at risk when a gunman burst into the pizzeria in early December, claiming he came to rescue the nonexistent children.

He fired the gun but no one was hurt.

New polling data from the Pew Research Center shows that 64 percent of Americans say fake news has caused a great deal of confusion.

Nearly a quarter of Americans say they have spread fake news online. 14 percent say they spread it knowing it was fake.

And the phenomenon is not unique to the United States.

There are attempts being made to reduce the impact of fake news. In Germany, some officials are calling for new laws to fight the phenomenon and some social media sites are attempting to reduce the amount of fake news on their platforms. Facebook now allows its users to report fake news.

And a new internet tool created by college students helps flag fake news on Facebook. They have dubbed the software project FiB.

The post is then marked Verified or Non-verified. FiB is so popular that the servers running it maxed out at 50 thousand users. They hope to roll out the product to a wider audience soon.

In China, anyone spreading rumors or fake news is subject to arrest or a fine. Chinese Social Media platform WeChat has disabled more than a million links connected to fake news and fined thousands of account holders for spreading false news stories.

But In many cases, it’s not easy to tell the difference between fake news, opinion or satire.

Freedom of speech laws in the U.S. and other countries make fighting fake news difficult, so it will likely continue to be difficult to separate truth from fiction.


Indonesia strengthens fake news monitors

In Indonesia, the government is looking to strictly monitor information distributed online. President Joko Widodo said the flood of fake news in the country is threatening Indonesia’s stability, security and economy.

CGTN’s Silkina Ahluwalia reports.

Indonesia strengthens fake news monitors

Indonesia strengthens fake news monitors

In Indonesia, the government is looking to strictly monitor information distributed online. President Joko Widodo said the flood of fake news in the country is threatening Indonesia's stability, security and economy. CGTN's Silkina Ahluwalia reports.

Recently, the rumor of the influx of Chinese workers in Indonesia created a nationwide stir.

Social media posts stated that millions of laborers from China were illegally entering Indonesia and putting pressure on blue-collar workers in the country.

The news triggered wide criticism towards the Indonesian government.

The Ministry of Communications and Information is working to monitor that by supporting a new campaign created by a group of journalists called “Anti-Hoax Society”, aiming at filtering out fake news.

The tension fueled by fake news could threaten Indonesia’s economic ambitions, possibly disrupting the flow of Chinese investments and tourists into the country.

But experts are concerned that the revised law limits freedom of speech.

With more than 80 million social media users in the country, fake news spreads faster than ever in Indonesia. The challenge is for the government to minimize the damage and reduce the reach of misleading news.