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20 January 2017

Social Media: Combatting Fake News

Written by: James Mercer, Junior Social Strategist at Edelman

Media, Technology, Trust

Before Facebook introduced instant articles, millennials were preparing to leave the platform and focus on what was coming next (much like the conversation around Twitter today). However Facebook did the radical thing! They began to champion the distribution of online news, benefitting the new and old media outlets who had an online presence. The Facebook user just needs to follow the news outlets they like, and they see the news they want on their Facebook feed as soon as it comes out. 

This whole model was perfect, until a lot of us stopped getting our own way. The same story written by 10 different publications will have 10 different views on the story, with the possibility of some adding fake details in order to compete for our attention. More clicks generates more ad revenue. So in reality, fake news media outlets may not even have a political stance at all, they’re just going with ‘what works’.

From the Edelman Trust Barometer study in 2016, we saw an increase in the gap of trust for the Government and Media between the Mass Population and the Informed Public. This is in correlation with news today claiming that the votes of Brexit, Trump and a further move to the left from Labour is an attempt for people to feel heard. Now that trust for Businesses is decreasing (Edelman Trust Barometer Study 2017), where can the solution be found?

The solution could be found in the same place they found the problem. Social Media presents a chance for businesses to listen. Through listening, they are able to get involved in a conversation in which they have more of an understanding. We all have a responsibility to make the world a better place and this can no longer be ignored. Taking the opportunity to start conversation and engage with consumers is a powerful thing. Offering a good quality product on top is a bonus! 

2017 looks to reveal a lot of change. Change is something businesses constantly embrace in order to survive. Social Media presents a chance for businesses to connect to their consumers with no middle men or interference. When that is done right, any negative articles written about that connection are less likely to have an effect, even if it is Fake News. 

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