Social media channels like Twitter have been transformative in providing personalized experiences to their users in record breaking time. Users like investigative journalists and reporters have the ability to access a plethora of information and news quicker than ever. In today’s age, many breaking news stories surface and spread first on social media before hitting the press. However, given the over 500 million tweets sent each day, it can be tough for journalists and reporters to differentiate real stories from fake news or unrelated trending topics. Unfortunately, fake news websites often take advantage of social media platforms to drive web traffic in order to gain more coverage. As a result, reporting breaking news stories can often involve sifting through videos, opinions, and content that may or may not be newsworthy.
At last week’s RightsCon in Brussels, much of the talk was about “fake news” and what to do about it. I was on one of several panels devoted to the topic and found the conversation enlightening. Here’s what I said and some of my reactions from the panel.
The panel’s title was “Resisting Content Regulation in the Post-Truth World: How to Fix Fake News and the Algorithmic Curation of Social Media.” So, unsurprisingly, the panelists largely agreed that the government should stay out of the way. I met no resistance when I said that freedom of expression means that governments should not determine what is or and what is not fake news; that’s a path to censorship, and we don’t want to go there.
I also got buy-in from my second big point, which was that Internet platforms are playing and ought to play a crucial role in controlling the spread of fake news.
This role has two distinct components. Platforms ha ...