Be careful where you get your news – The New York Times and many other respected outlets are reporting on the recent onslaught of “fake news” sites popping up in Google searches and Facebook news feeds. Some say they’ve become so influential and prevalent that stories on these “fake news” sites may have even influenced the recent Presidential election.
The presence of these stories and outlets on sites like Facebook and Google has called into question whether or not the news aggregators of today (including popular social media channels) should be held to the same levels of journalistic integrity and standards of fact-checking as operations solely devoted to delivering the news to their readers. Both Google and Facebook have taken steps to fix the problem, with Google announcing a ban on fake news sites, and Facebook promising to vet and monitor all prospective and existing publishers featured on the site.
As a public relations firm that deals with social advocacy and political issues, we’re constantly vetting media outlets to make sure they’re respectable and appropriate for our clients. But in the internet age, when anyone can post anything and call it “news,” the question of responsibility is an interesting one: Should readers be checking out their news sources, or should they be able to rely on well-respected platforms to vet them for them? It’s a conversation we’ll be watching evolve.