Randall Rothenberg, the head of online advertising trade body the Interactive Advertising Bureau, is urging marketers, ad agencies, tech firms and media companies to take responsibility and help prevent the spread of fake news online.
President-elect Donald Trump said Wednesday that NBC News is not giving him the credit he deserves for job-creation announcements from major U.S. and foreign companies. “No wonder the Today Show on biased @NBC is doing so badly compared to its glorious past. Little credibility!” Trump wrote on Twitter, ending his attack against the network.
The marketing industry is facing a moral quandary in the face of a national debate over the role that fake news played in the presidential election and the realization that many websites that promote false and misleading stories are motivated by the money they can make from online advertising.
Sami Main highlights the dynamics including a subscription boom following the post-election, post-truth wave, the fake news explosion and the acceleration of cord cutting.
If enough people now report news as fake, Facebook will pass the content on to third-party fact-checking organizations including ABC News, The Associated Press, FactCheck.org, Politifact and Snopes. Stories that fail the fact checking will be publicly flagged as “disputed” and be pushed down users’ news feeds.
The problem with fake news is that it often contains truthful elements, something that makes a simple — or even algorithmic — solution elusive. Gerry Smith explains how professional fact checkers grade stories on a more nuanced scale, and that “even an army of fact-checkers may not be enough to police the deluge of dubious stories on Facebook.”
Fake news is mostly a demand-side problem by those drawn to it largely for the titillation effect, Jack Shafer argues. But he says it’s too important to be left to Facebook’s cure. Rather, we need to learn to live with a certain amount of it, we need to educate people in how to spot fake news and ultimately apply “small doses of reason to our media diet.”
Even President Obama has added his voice to the choir raised against the proliferation of fake news on Facebook that many argued helped sway the election result. Such news can poison politics to a degree that “we won’t know what we’re fighting for,” he said Thursday.