We’ve all been tricked at some point by a fake news article. The fact is, there are probably more false or misleading stories out there on the internet than there are factual ones. This has been made abundantly clear during the 2016 presidential election. Fake news stories were spread like wildfire both pro and con about each respective candidate. It has gotten so bad that at one point the top hits on google for things like election results led to a website that had false information (i.e. saying Trump won the popular vote when he actually lost the popular vote by about a million votes).
Experts say that the reason why false news goes viral so fast is the fact that they’re tailored to feed on the emotions that the public is already feeling. If they already hate Trump, people will believe just about anything bad about him. The problem is, people just don’t read what they share or even bother to fact check anything they read. A survey says that a large percentage of people will like or share a news story based on headline alone and won’t even bother reading the rest of the article.
Both Facebook and Google already have filters on their ads that prevent pornography, hateful, or violent ads from being shows on their websites. Both are now making a move to ban fake news websites from their ads and to a lesser extent to their networks overall. It would be impractical to try to censor all the fake news sites out there based on just the sheer number of them, but they can make sure that any that rise to popularity will be stricken from their websites. Both companies hope that, by limiting their revenue it will deter fake news websites from even bothering in the first place.
Facebook specifically is coming under fire for their alleged role in tipping the scales in favor of Trump. People say that Facebook is at fault for not realizing that hundreds of false news stories in favor of Trump were being spread on their social media. This just months after they were accused of burying certain news stories or promoting stories that weren’t really “trending” to force people to pay attention to them. Mark Zuckerberg has denied that Facebook had any bearing on the results of the election.