The Battle Against Fake News

If you are one to use social media, or have any number of friends who love to share hilarious memes, or crazy news headlines, you have more than likely seen all sorts of fraudulent facts and fake news stories.

These fake news and facts have been causing quite a stir as of late, mostly due to the election of Donald Trump, the 45th president of the United States. Social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter have been flooded with fake news stories about President Donald Trump and his campaign, which are meant to shock and dazzle users into reading further, making money for the authors of these fake news stories. What’s more, these people are not breaking any laws, so there is no way to silence these fraudulent Authors.

This begs the question; Whose responsibility is it to wade through all the headlines and stories we see every day, to figure out what is in fact truth and what are just stories of grandeur? Some would say that it is the responsibility of the social media sites, but with over 500 million tweets a day on Twitter alone, this task is near impossible. More still believe that it is the responsibility of our government to filter out this fake news with new laws and regulations, but since most of these fake news stories are coming from out of the country, this tactic would prove unsuccessful in stemming the flow of fake news. The only way to weed out the fake news from these social media sites is to rest this responsibility on the shoulders of the users.

In recent months, I have logged onto Facebook and Twitter many times, and every time, after a quick look to see what was trending, I would find some anti-Trump, or anti-Hillary story that seemed too far-fetched to be completely true. After less than five minutes of fact checking on sites such as Snopes.com, I could conclude that these stories were indeed false, and I was able to stop myself from spreading this false information further. So, why shouldn’t the person who re-tweeted that story, or shared that post be required to do the same? We as the social media community need to take responsibility for our actions and not blame the creators and administrators of these social media sites for our own stupidity. We as the users of these social media sites should come up with a system to mark fake news as a service to our fellow users. If you see a news story on Twitter, take the time to fact check the story. If it turns out to be false, mark it with a special hashtag, such as #FAKENEWS. After enough people have fact checked the article, and marked it with the hashtag, it should then either be written off by the community and ignored, or reviewed and removed by the site’s administration.

This system will allow us to reclaim our social media sites, making the news we get there truthful, and creating an Informative reading experience. I don’t see a foreseeable end to this problem without the swift action of the social media community.