Fake news is not a new thing

Nothing has shaken up the world of news reporting quite like the rise of social media, and the mainstream media detest it.
Along with almost all other undesired, western, world events (which incidentally went against most of the mainstream media’s preference), Brexit & Trump have been almost been completely blamed on “Fake-News”.
The big (and real) problem is advertising revenues are being taken by social media companies (like Facebook & Google) and the mainstream media are slowing having their influence reduced.
I am not in anyway arguing that some of the absolute cr*p delivered via social media is a great replacement for insightful & established journalism but in many cases, it’s not much worse.
So what can the mainstream media do about this loss in ad revenues and lessening influence on society? Lambast it! Give “it” a name and slaughter it openly on a daily basis until we all (hopefully) give up reading it and return to good old-fashioned, slightly fake-news, daily newspaper reading. Aint gonna happen!

The reality is that we are all too wise to return to the traditional media consumption and we have far too many choices at our fingertips.

We all need to understand the clear difference between a mainstream media outlet and a social network and treat them differently. A social network is a delivery system, not a content producer. Yes, they could make better efforts to apply editorial control on the content added to their network but realistically with nearly 2 billion users worldwide – policing all the content they produce and applying a carefully-crafted, western-focused, Christianity-biased editorial control in real-time is an impossible task. It may also mean we all stop using it.
Now compare that kind of network to a traditional media outlet which has a few hundred journalists and an editor who says yes or no, along with an over-riding political strategy for the readership. Carefully-crafted editorial control is absolute. What they say is editorially governed and (thankfully in this country) they have an independent body who can hold them to account (incidentally after the event!).

To the short-term delight of the mainstream media, Facebook are running a number of full-page print ads today to help readers understand the problem of fake-news and the ways we can all help to combat it.

I am not arguing that “Fake News” is a problem for us all to try and figure out but lets just understand that it has been going on for years, long before the rise of social media. It just didn’t have a name.

The real problem is that Facebook are just making the issue bigger & less controlled with nearly 2 billion journalists and a very simplistic moderation process. But let’s all get wise to the mainstream media’s completely vested interest in vilifying social media on a daily basis and get smart about how we digest the information we read. Rant over!

Written by Oli Yeates


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