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Can Facebook solve the fake news crisis?

The social network giant has already begun partnering with news organizations to crackdown on misinformation and teach media, and information literacy to users.




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With an estimated 3.5 million of Singapore’s 5.6 million people currently on Facebook, the use of the social media platform is woven into Singapore daily life. And, it is no longer news that social media is a massive tool in influencing people’s views and decisions.

It is also a fact that fake news is rampant. The once harmless memes and tongue-in-cheek satirical articles have been weaponized to spread misinformation. Political groups use trolls to spread their agenda and harass opposing voices, with the battleground being Facebook’s newsfeed and comments section. The effects are devastating and have impacted the fabric of society itself.

Read: When your defenders are trolls—the PAP Internet Brigade

Facebook has been criticised for being complicit in the spread of fake news due to their lack of proactive solutions to sufficiently control site content. One of Facebook’s new proposals to combat the spread of misinformation is to set up an official “news tab” on the social networking site.

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Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced on Mon (Apr 1) that the news tab would be designed to encourage and support “high quality and trustworthy” journalism from recognised publishers. Zuckerberg said that Facebook will be paying these publishers for their content but he stressed that Facebook will not be a publisher in the sense of making its own news and content.

Read: State-sponsored trolling worse than fake news: report

“There is a real opportunity in a separate news service to have better monetisation for publishers than we have in news feed,” Zuckerberg stated in a video interview.

While no further details have been disclosed about the product, Zuckerberg mentioned that the proposed news tab would still need personalised curation.

The social network giant has already begun partnering with news organizations to crackdown on misinformation and teach media, and information literacy to users. Facebook has taken down mass troll farms and fake accounts in various countries that have been linked to the spread of propaganda, and fake news.

But perhaps, a private corporation can only do so much against the state powers of a nation. /TISG


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