As time has progressed, the media has evolved. While newspapers were once the top way to circulate information, things have dramatically changed with the rise of social media. Social media has allowed for the spread of news instantly.
According to the Pew Research Center, a survey conducted in the beginning of 2016 revealed that 35 percent of those between the ages of 18 and 29 found social media to be the most helpful source when learning about the 2016 presidential election.
For those who were 30 and above, cable television news ranked the highest.
With the election of Donald Trump and his administration, there has recently been lots of talk about “fake news.” Trump and his administration, particularly Kellyanne Conway, have accused the media of making mistakes, and while this does happen, it “is very difficult to hear criticism from a White House, which has such little regard day in, day out, for facts, for truth and who calls [the media] fake news for stories they don’t like,” according to Jake Tapper, Chief Washington Correspondent of CNN.
In order to combat the threat of fake news, it is important that readers are informed of who they are getting their news from. It is important to follow credible reporters who are verified on Twitter.
Annemarie Dooling, the director of programming for Vox Media’s Racked.com and online community expert of the New York Times, said that “social networks could incorporate similar mechanism-learning algorithms that would warn users about dangerous of untrustworthy content.”
Nicholas A. Glavin, a researcher at the United States Naval War College’s Center on Irregular Warfare and Armed Groups, says that the responsibility to identify fake news “falls as much, if not more on social media users, who must be conscious of or learn to circumvent malign content.”
It is ultimately up to social media companies and their users to stop the spread of fake news by identifying it and becoming a line of defense when choosing what to share in terms of content.