Wednesday, January 26

Social networks and fake news: the difficult outlook for 2022 | Digital Trends Spanish


Social networks allow information to be transmitted more quickly, thus being able to reach a greater number of people in a short time.

The problem is that this has also motivated the spread of fake news, which constitutes a serious risk, especially when they address sensitive topics, such as the presidential elections or the coronavirus pandemic.

The disturbing thing is that everything indicates that this problem will continue to be present next year on social networks, perhaps in a more serious way.

This is how at least three experts advance it in an article published by The Conversation. These are some of the points that should concern us the most for next year in terms of disinformation:

Poor regulation

According to Anjana Susarla, a professor of Information Systems at Michigan State University, one of the reasons why the number of fake news has skyrocketed on social media is the scarcity of regulatory mechanisms.

“Forcing transparency and giving users greater access and control over their data could go a long way toward solving the problems of misinformation,” explains the researcher.

“But independent audits are also needed, including tools that evaluate social media algorithms.”

Another aspect highlighted by Susarla is that the racial and gender biases of the algorithms used by social platforms exacerbate the problem of misinformation.

“Although social media companies have introduced mechanisms to highlight credible sources of information, solutions such as labeling posts as disinformation do not resolve gender and racial biases in access to information,” he explains.

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More divisions

Dam Hee Kim is Professor of Communication at the University of Arizona. She warns that, in recent times, the problem of false news has become more serious, even leading to deaths in the case of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Another disturbing aspect is that, through fake news, social networks, originally developed to bring people together, can deepen the differences and distance between them.

“This makes citizens who consume news on social networks to become cynical not only with respect to established institutions, such as politicians and the media, but also with respect to other voters,” says the teacher.

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The problem of propaganda

Ethan Zuckerman is Professor of Public Policy, Communication and Information at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

The researcher projects that in 2022, platforms like Facebook will be used more frequently to share political propaganda, which can trigger an explosive increase in fake news.

“Most of the misinformation is not the result of an innocent misunderstanding. It is the product of specific campaigns to promote a political or ideological agenda ”, he points out.

This motivates the companies that offer these services to assume a more participatory and responsible attitude when filtering the content that can be considered harmful and that comes from unknown sources.

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