What to do about “fake news”

In the aftermath of the 2016 presidential election, a lot of journalists, academics and public officials expressed concern about “fake news” — bogus news stories that circulated on social media during the political campaign. For example, Michael P. Lynch, a professor of philosophy at the University of Connecticut, wrote in The New York Times that fake news “may have spread wide enough to influence the outcome of the election.” And BuzzFeed reported that “Fake Election News Stories Outperformed Real News On Facebook.” Media critic Walt Mossberg, among others, argued that Facebook “can and should wipe out fake news.” But other people said fake news isn’t a major problem. The overarching problem is the public’s “waning trust in real reporting,” according to a New York Times article by journalist John Herrman. Jessica Lessin, founder of the website and newsletter The Information, said it would be “dangerous” to have Facebook try to weed out fake news. “Fake news is bad. Attempts to ban it are worse,” journalist and filmmaker Anthony Fisher wrote on Vox. It’s no wonder that congressional committees called executives from Facebook, Twitter and other digital platforms on the carpet this year, and Mark Zuckerberg apologized for not doing enough to stop the spread of misinformation. With that background, write an essay that addresses these questions: * Summarize the arguments and evidence on both sides: Why are some people so concerned about “fake news”? Why do other people dismiss these concerns? * State your opinion about what if anything should be done about “fake news.” Should Facebook, Twitter, Google and other media platforms help solve the problem? Should the government get involved? Should individuals do something? Support your opinion with facts and personal experience or perspective. In your essay, you must cite at least three sources. Follow APA style for your citations. List your sources at the end of your essay, and use in-text citations in the body of your essay. Your answer must be 500-600 words, not including citations. Your posting should be of high quality, both in content and style; it should have few if any typographic or mechanical errors (grammar, spelling or punctuation). I strongly urge you to write your answer in a Word document instead of typing it directly into the Blackboard reply window. Then copy your answer from the Word document and paste it into Blackboard. That way, you won’t lose your work if your Blackboard connection goes down.