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How Google, Facebook & Twitter Failed to Reduce the Appearance of Fake News

How Google, Facebook & Twitter Failed to Reduce the Appearance of Fake News

The European Commission (EC) has taken issue with Google, Facebook and Twitter and the actions taken thus far to eliminate the appearance of Fake News on their platforms.  The EC accuses all three of failing to act quickly to remove ‘fake news’ in a series of reports published last week.

In October, 2018, Google, Facebook and Twitter were asked by the European Union to remove the spread of disinformation across their channels ahead of key European elections.  All 3 signed the code of practice to avoid strict regulations and agreed to submit annual reports to independent third parties for scrutiny.  The findings in the report come as a shock to social media analysts who expected more from the platforms after last year’s Facebook Cambridge Analytica scandal and Google+ data breach incident, which exposed private information to unauthorized 3rd parties.

According to the EC, “Platforms have not provided enough details showing that new policies and tools are being deployed in a timely manner and with sufficient resources across all EU member states. The reports provide too little information on the actual results of the measures already taken.”

EC also argued, “…the platforms have failed to identify specific benchmarks that would enable the tracking and measurement of progress in the EU. The quality of the information provided varies from one signatory of the code to another, depending on the commitment areas covered by each report. This clearly shows that there is room for improvement for all signatories.”

How Facebook, Google, and Twitter Failed to Fight Fake News | Social Media Toronto

Facebook: The report accuses the social media giant of not fulfilling its promise to carry out greater scrutiny of ad placements on its platform. However, it also notes that Facebook promised to make a pan-EU archive for political and issue advertising accessible later this month.

Google: The EC accused Google of not being specific enough in the data they released, particularly regarding its own ad placements. According to the report, the provided data did not go into detail about the extent to which the actions were taken to address disinformation and has not provided evidence of any concrete implementation of actions as promised.

Twitter: The micro-blogging channel has received criticism from the EC for not providing any metrics regarding its own attempts to get rid of disinformation. Despite promises being made earlier this year, the social network has also not provided any benchmarks for which it will measure progress against fraudulent or misleading political ads.

The EC has said that if the monthly reports continue to “prove unsatisfactory”, it “may propose further actions, including of a stricter regulatory nature.

How to Spot Fake News on Google, Twitter & Facebook | Social Media Marketing Tips

  1. Consider the source: Unknown domain names or websites are signs you should be wary.
  2. Consider the author’s credentials: If the author’s name is listed, find out who the person is and what their credentials are. Do a search of the author’s name; find their occupation and other articles written by them. Is the author an expert in the field?
  3. Look for visual cues: Fake news websites may use sloppy or unprofessional language, images. They may also overuse CAP LOCKS.
  4. Get a Second Opinion: If a story makes you very weary, dig deeper. Consult other credible sources (e.g., Reuters) and debunking websites (e.g., FactCheck.org).
  5. Develop a Critical Mindset: keep your emotional response to such stories in check. Instead, approach what you see and hear rationally and critically. Ask yourself, “Why has this story been written? Is it to persuade me of a certain viewpoint? Is it selling me a particular product? Or is it trying to get me to click through to another website?”

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By |2019-04-08T15:50:40-04:00April 8th, 2019|

About the Author:

Alex Noudelman earned his Honours B.A. in History and Political Science in 2007 from York University in Toronto, ON. He went on to complete his Advanced Certificate in Adolescent Education in 2008 at D'Youville College and became a certified teacher in Ontario in January, 2009. He's been working in the digital marketing industry since 2010 and enjoys writing to intrigue his readers and educate them about the fundamentals. Feel free to contact Alex Noudelman if you have any questions or would like to see a specific topic covered on this iRISEmedia blog.