True Story: Fake News A Big Problem On Facebook
UNDATED - Before you "like", "share", or "click" on a story you see on Facebook take the time to find out if it's real. Fake news stories have become big business on the social media site, and they've fooled people into sharing bogus stories thousands of times.
A recent New York Times article quoted a man who said he actually makes $10,000 a month making-up fake news, hoping they go viral.
Jim Cottrill is a political science professor at St. Cloud State University. He says while Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has pledged to crack down on fake news, it is up to you to do your homework.
If there's a major story that seems outrageous and the New York Times, Washington Post, and Wall Street Journal are not covering it, then you can bet there's reason to doubt it.
Zuckerberg has outlined several projects underway that are aimed at reducing misinformation on Facebook. He says one idea is creating a type of spam filter.
With your email you get certain messages that are just sort of routed to a spam filter. There may be a way to tag those types of stories in Facebook and make a way to sort them and police them yourself with a tool they create.
Cottrill says another option is cutting off the ad revenue on sites that are deemed fake.
Maybe if Facebook does not allow ad revenue to sites that are fake or false. If you shut down the revenue stream and make it harder to make money with it, then that would also be a way to make it go away.
However, shutting down fake news isn't as easy as it seems. Some people say it violates our free speech rights.
It is a big issue because the Pew Research Center says nearly half of all Americans now get their news from Facebook.