As till 2016 that the public began to

As we have discussed
during the course of this class, the term “fake news” has only become popular within
the last two years, yet it is currently one of the biggest issues that media
ethics has ever faced. Throughout history we have seen news that has been
misreported or fabricated in many forms, but fake news stands out because there
has never been such a public outcry against unverified news. By the end of 2016
many professors on IUPUI’s campus were encouraging students to use websites
like “AllSides”, “Fact Check”, and “Media Matters” to take a second look at
claims made by politicians and even journalists. As I began to question why it
was not till 2016 that the public began to take fake news seriously, I found
that Facebook had a big role in that. This is due to the massive presence of
fake news on Facebook feeds and the speculation that fake news on this social
media platform helped the current president, Donald Trump, win the election.

 

“The US election
served as a breeding ground for fake news, which reportedly sometimes
outperformed real news on Facebook,” stated Business Insider writer, Hannah
Roberts. During the months that led to the 2016 election, I saw many of my
Facebook friends post and share news stories that were misleading, sloppily
reported, or in some cases totally made up. I remember how my high school choir
teacher posted a story of a DNC staffer who was murdered after agreeing to
testify against Hillary Clinton (“Seth Rich Homicide”, n.d.). Additionally, my
devoted Catholic aunt shared with excitement how Pope Francis endorsed Donald
Trump (“Nope Frances”, n.d.). News stories are supposed to help ordinary voters
like my choir teacher and aunt understand the world around them, yet those close
to me were being misled to believe and stand behind fabricated headlines.

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According to a 2016
Reuters Digital News Report, 51 percent of people access online news through
social media, making sites like Facebook the world’s most influential
“editors”. There is no doubt that Facebook needs to consider every option to
prevent people from abusing their platform, and leaders are working on doing
this (“Facebook’s Latest Fix for Fake News: Ask Users What They Trust”, 2018).
However, I understand that because this site is designed to give us, the
everyday users, the ability to publish our own content, it is extremely
difficult to properly scan every post for accuracy. For that reason, I strongly
believe that it is up to Facebook users to know how to actively examine online
news sources before believing what is written. The way Facebook users could do
this would include understanding the political leanings of certain news sites,
analyzing domain names or URLs to make sure they are legitimate or recognizing
poor web design. At the end of the day, consuming news effectively requires us
all to be vigilant about what we are reading, listening or watching, and
figuring out who created what content and for what purpose. Unfortunately,
journalism has some challenging years ahead if news continues to be misreported
and fabricated, people receive their news solely from one source, and politics
becomes more polarized.