The age of fake news is over. Gone are the days when you had to wait for breaking news or read gossip magazines for the latest celebrity gossip. All the information we require is available at the tap of an app. Most people get their news online, especially via social media.
With more than 2 billion internet users and nearly 64.5 percent receiving breaking news via Facebook, Twitter, YouTube Snapchat, Instagram, Snapchat, and YouTube, social media has taken over as the primary source of online news.
A recent survey found that half of internet users said they get the latest news via social networks before ever reading it on a news site. Many users will check their news feeds to see breaking stories and then go to the news sites to find out more. According to the survey, social media referred 57% more people to news sites.
There has been a decline in the number of articles people read. The majority of people scroll through their news feeds and find relevant news content. They only read the headlines or short clips. The average 15 second visitor will read an article and the average 10 second video watch time online is 10.
Social media platforms can control what information and news we see. Social media friends are now the “managing editors”, deciding what information we see. Before a person sees an article in their feed, they must “like” it and share it multiple times. Social media and your friends can control what news pieces you see, and what you don’t. Fake news websites also exist that offer sensational headlines and bizarre storylines to grab attention. These stories are more likely to be shared because people don’t read more than the headline. This means authentic content is difficult to find. Fake news is more likely to spread then the truth.
“Falsehood spread significantly further, faster, deeper and more widely than the truth in all information categories, and the effects were greater for false political news than false news about terrorism or natural disasters, science, science, or financial news,” said Sinan Aral of Massachusetts Institute of Technology. data-ga-track=”ExternalLink:http://science.sciencemag.org/cgi/doi/10.1126/science.aap9559″ href=”http://science.sciencemag.org/cgi/doi/10.1126/science.aap9559″ rel=”nofollow noopener noreferrer” target=”_blank”>wrote in the journal Science.
Buzzfeed, which has 17.2 millions subscribers, is a great place to find timely and relevant news. Social media content must be shared and liked. Advertisers have the option to pay more for a place in news feeds. This will help them get noticed. Although syndication is not new, it is becoming more common in social media due to the amount of information that can be shared at once and 24 hours a day.
News happens fast now. Tomorrow’s story could be today’s. Because stories are so quick to be shared and turned around, it is easy for people to overlook things. Although we have so much information available, it is important to verify sources and not take headlines as true. Social media is our new news managers. It’s up to us as fact-checkers to media.