1984 In 2016

by KIERYN RUBY

Staff Writer

 

The internet is a vast place in today’s world, and it is nearly impossible to account for what actually goes on. Recently, there has been conflict over whether corporations like Facebook and Google should flag or dismiss fake news on of their feeds. Although fake news stories have a momentous effect on our thoughts and opinions, the amount of false stories that are out there is just too much for Google and Facebook to handle; therefore, we as consumers of the media should learn how to differentiate which stories are false and which are credible

 

One problem that involves fact-checking stories is the bias of the ones flagging stories. In the article “Zuckerberg Vows to Weed out Facebook ‘fake news’” by Jessica Guynn and Kevin McCoy, Zuckerberg states that many news stories could “express an opinion that many will still disagree with”, causing them to “incorrectly flag them as inaccurate”. For example, a writer who is pro-Trump can write an article about his latest debate, but a flagger who is pro-Clinton can flag it as fake, even if it is actually true. As said in the article “Facebook Shouldn’t Fact-Check” by Jessica Lessin, it would make Facebook seem like they are always telling the truth and that we should always go to Facebook for the “truth”. However, how can we trust a social media platform to be an accurate news source? Others say that fake stories are dangerous and cause others to make rash decisions. This idea is portrayed in the news story “Man Fires Rifle in D.C. Restaurant at Center of Fake-news Conspiracy Theories” by Greg Toppod. The article talks about how a man stormed a pizza place after reading a news story that claimed Hillary Clinton was running a sex ring in its back rooms. In America, we do have freedom of speech, which entails that we can write articles about whatever we want. We cannot always control which articles and how many are being put forth on the internet. This means that it should be our job to learn and discredit fake news, not Facebook.

 

Facebook flagging fake news can have dangerous effects on our nation as a whole. George Orwell’s novel 1984, is the archetype of a media-controlling society. 1984 is a story about a totalitarian government that has mental and physical control over their people. The government controls the media and makes the civilians believe that they have the best government  This could become all too real if Facebook is allowed to fact-check news. They could make us believe that certain things are right and wrong. Whether they are being malicious or not, it could be really dangerous.

 

The next step we have to take is learning how to decipher if an article is true or not. A few simple steps are included in the article “Fake Or Real? How To Check The News And Get The Facts” by Wynne Davis. Some of the steps included in the article are to pay attention to the domain and URL, and look at the quotes in a story. These steps are universal and will work whether we are getting our news from Facebook or Yahoo. Social media platforms should not be able to make decisions about fake news that we, as independent people, can make for ourselves.

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