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Reality Check w/ John Tracy: The problem with fake news and its role on social media

By John Tracy 3:43 PM November 17, 2016

Here’s a piece of news that ought to concern you: A Pew Research Center survey, reported earlier this year, found that 44 percent of U.S. adults now get their news from Facebook.

Facebook works great as a way to keep up with friends and family, but it fails miserably as a news source.

Why? Because Facebook monitors what we like. The more we click, like or share the posts we agree with, the more Facebook feeds us more of the same.

Facebook’s algorithms put us inside our ideological bubbles, no longer exposed to information, and dare I say it facts, that can help us form a more objective view of our world. And because we’re so comfortable in our bubbles, we’re easy pickings for those who want to spoon feed us misinformation, or as it has come to be called — fake news.

All someone has to do is tweet a fake news report — like one that states Donald Trump won the popular vote — and it not only catches fire on Facebook, but even ends up as a legitimate looking news post on Google.

President-elect Trump credits Facebook and Twitter with helping him win the election. Trump himself retweeted fake news, so obvious he got called on it on Fox News.

In an interview with Trump, Bill O’Reilly said: “You tweeted out, ‘Whites killed by blacks, those are statistics you picked up from somewhere, at a rate of 81 percent and that’s totally wrong.'”

Later in the interview O’Reilly told Tump: “I told you, you shouldn’t Tweet ever. You shouldn’t be tweeting.”

Trump told “60 Minutes” he would curb his Twitter habit, but he can’t seem to help himself.

Both Facebook and Google have announced they will no longer allow fake news sites to use their ad selling services. But Facebook has announced no plans to filter out inaccurate and misleading content from its platform.

Fake news and real news may be hard to tell apart, but there is a difference between a journalist and a blogger.

It remains a mystery to me why the people who tell me not to believe everything I read in the newspaper are usually so quick to believe everything they’re fed on Facebook.

John’s opinions are his own, and not necessarily those of Denali Media or its employees.

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