At least 50% of America is unhappy with the latest US elections. Some people are extremely excited about having a Donald Trump presidency while the other half are unanimously disgusted.
The overall consensus in America is that the two choices that we had for president were not good; it was like having to choose between two piles of discarded feces. But I think, more than any other presidential election, and mainly because of the sheer number of people on the Internet with access to publication abilities, there’s been a lot of misinformation, fake news and just flat out lies.
Some people have the conception that if it’s on the Internet, it must be true. Some look at the Internet and say this website looks professional, it looks reputable, it must be true. But the simple fact is that a lot of the information you have access to on the Internet is not true. Just because someone has the ability to publish information, doesn’t necessarily mean that that information comes from a respectable source.
Within the past week, Facebook and Google have become points of interest when it comes to fake news. Facebook has been accused of not properly policing the promoted articles that were flat out lies about Hillary Clinton. There was also misinformation about Donald Trump. However, Donald Trump was consistently the most dishonest presidential candidate [ever] throughout the election based upon the results from Politifact.com.
I once wrote an article about the comparison between traditional newspapers and news organizations versus the online blogger; essentially asking why would one be more valid than the other— this year we get that answer. Because there is no professional or moral obligation to be truthful. A news organization can face litigation for precipitating false information. As a blogger, there is no oversight. Anything that a blogger wants to publish online can be done easily and anonymously; with no fear of backlash at all.
A lot of voters in the United States are upset because Donald Trump ran a very dishonest presidential campaign. Pretty much every statement he made was highly inaccurate, inflammatory or complete fiction. This leaves a lot of people in complete dismay about how something like this could’ve happened. How could someone be so dishonest and misleading and still win the presidency?
In the American spirit of needing someone to blame, I think a lot of people are pointing to social media allowing for fake news and articles to be disseminated to the public as fully vetted information. Facebook was fearful of the repercussions of trying to censor their newsfeed in any way, and now it looks like Google is going to fight back on fake news websites by not allowing advertisements on sites where information is unfounded or purposely misleading.
Any adjustments that Facebook makes to their website to try to weed out fake news will only make a minor impact only proliferation of fake news websites. And while Google is going to penalize fake news websites by not allowing advertisements, this is not going to shut them down. There are other advertising options for site publishers out there and if the websites are popular enough I’m sure they’re getting some sort of support from an outside party.
All this points to one big thing, though, people are speaking out about spreading misinformation. They don’t like to be misled and they don’t like people who are dishonest about their reporting. It’s good to see that Facebook and Google are doing something, but I expect the trend of fake news websites to continue simply because there’re people out there that are easily swayed and convinced of whatever they read. Unfortunately, there’s just too many people out there who don’t take the time to verify the information they read; they just take it at face value.
If you have any thoughts or opinions on this, let me know in the comments below…