It turns out that having a computer in charge of your editorial strategy isn’t such a great idea.
A Washington Post study in September found that bogus news repeatedly trended after Facebook fired its news curators in August following controversy over editorial bias. While Mark Zuckerburg has said his company would not be a media outlet, a Pew study in January found that 44 percent of Americans say they get their news from Facebook. However, the study found just 34 percent of US adults said they trust social media news.
Tech companies are hoping to change that perception. Facebook and Twitter joined the First Draft Coalition as part of an effort to vet online information for greater accuracy. Google announced on October 13 that it would include fact-checking stories in Google News.
Still, with automated news gathering process, there will always be a few hoaxes that slip through the cracks and more than a few readers willing to spread them. Here’s a roundup of the fake trending news stories on Facebook that landed it in hot water.
Within three days of Facebook updated Trending, it picked up a story claiming Fox News Host Megyn Kelly was fired for her anti-Trump stance. The article claims Bill O’Reilly was the driving force behind Kelly’s dismissal. Since the dismissal of Facebook’s editorial team, its algorithm for vetting trending news accepts trending topics linked to three or more recent articles, according to the Washington Post.
Right wing outlet The Daily Wire claimed that a Clemson University administrator kicked a man off campus for praying in a restricted area. It included a video of a student who had joined the praying man interviewing the administrator. Rumors swirled that the university prohibited praying on campus, but the school debunked the article in a press release. Clemson said the praying man was not affiliated with the school and had to fill out paperwork to come on campus.
3. iPhone 8 will have Siri Physically Coming out of the Phone and Doing All the Household Chores: Tim Cook
In a more benign, yet no less accurate post, the outlet FakingNews took the next iPhone to a whole new level. The iPhone 8, “senior developers” revealed, would redefine convenience by handling household chores for users. Branded as the “The leading news satire and humor website of India”, Faking News’s Facebook Post garnered thousands of engagements.
“It will be something like Aladdin’s lamp. Users will have to scratch the back of the iPhone 8 and Siri will appear before them, in person. It will respond to your commands and do activities that you ask it to do. Now mowing your backyard, cleaning the utensils, babysitting and so on is just a scratch away,” he added.
This “truther” article came a day before the 15th anniversary of the terrorist attacks. The Daily Star piece elevated a conspiracy theory surround the 9/11 attacks that bombs were planted in the Twin Towers. It cited engineers and the architect of the World Trade Center in support of its claim.
5. Angry Meghan ‘Miss Piggie’ McCain enraged that Lauer didn’t ask Trump more about Iraq
This article came from the pro-Trump publication Prntly, headed by Alex Portelli. While Donald Trump has linked to Prntly’s articles, there’s no evidence that it’s tied to the campaign, the Washington Post reports. The site often copy and pastes stories with their own provocative headline.
Hosted on the blogging platform Medium, SportsPickle reimagined the press conference following the Buffalo Bill’s loss to the Ravens in its opening game. It quoted Bills Head Coach Rex Ryan saying he didn’t care if his team made it to the Super Bowl as long as they could watch it. The Bills have since gone on a four game winning streak.
“I don’t care if we go 0–16,” he said. “This team will stay together and we will hang out and watch the Super Bowl in February and have some snacks.
Have you seen any fake news in your Trending section? Please take a screenshot and let us know in the comments.