We all deserve access to real news and information. Writers, publishers and users all have an expectation that the information they get online is accurate and reliable. In order to make informed decisions and have intelligent discussions, you need to trust the stuff you read online.
Social media platforms and publishers have a duty to provide users with a better experience when it comes to getting online information. There is so much fake news being circulated today, that a lot of people have a hard time distinguishing between what is real and what is fake.
The three social media platforms that we refer to here are Facebook, Twitter and Google. These are the most popular sites. It’s where more people get their information than anywhere else.
All of these platforms can work harder to provide their users with a more positive and reliable experience online. While we don’t expect social media to determine which news is real and which is fake, they could do a bit more in filtering the memes and stories they publish.
Here are some helpful suggestions that all of us can take into account when publishing and sharing information online:
- Make it easier for users to report fake news, hate stories, harassment and bots
- Find a way for the media to send fact-checking information, confirmations, and debunking efforts to social media platforms.
- Give users verified sources and a way to know which writers and sources are credible
- Make the sources of social media stories, memes and viral videos visible
- Trace the origins of memes and news stories
- Offer more information when a user relies on autocomplete in a search engine
- Limit search results to relevant and current information
- Offer reference sites so users can investigate memes and viral information on their own
- Have a way to distribute corrections and retractions on online social media platforms
- Increase the use of memes to spread real and confirmed news and information instead of lies
- Stop funding fake news!
- Encourage white hat media hackers
- Hire editors
- Take part in organizations that seek out ways to support the truth
If social media platforms and publishers engaged in just a handful of these suggestions, users would have a much productive online experience. People spend half their time on social media. It’s where most people get their information these days. They deserve access to accurate and reliable information.
While nobody is suggesting that we create blacklists, we do think a little common sense and effort will go a long way. This way, people will be able to engage in intelligent and meaningful conversations instead of regurgitating fake news they found online.