Why fake news is beating traditional news

Traditional news organizations made a deal with the devil when they turned to social media and search-engine optimization to gain digital audience and revenue.

They recruited "community managers" to raise their profile on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and the like. They tagged their articles to raise them in search results.

The devilish side of the deal was that presumably ethical news media were trying to sell credibility and verified information -- facts -- within a turbulent ocean of emotion. On social media, feelings are more important than facts. People want to declare who they are and what they believe. So they "like" and share stuff that reinforces their view of who they are and what they agree with. Emotions predominate over facts.

Versión en español

Articles that are popular, shared, and linked to will rise to the top of search results in Google and other search engines. It's easy to share or like something that reinforces your view of who you are.

Misreading the data

So the post-election idea now being championed by many journalists that Facebook and other social media should be fact-checked, and that fake news stories could be eliminated from social media shows they misunderstand the new media dynamics.
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