How is Facebook linked to fake news and polarization?

Facebook is the world’s largest social network, with its almost 2.5 billion monthly active users. With so many billion people comes big responsibility for what publishes on the network. This is where Facebook has been terribly criticized. Fake news and polarization has been all over Facebook, and affected billions of people. So, how is Facebook linked to fake news and polarization?

First of all, what is Facebook?

Facebook is a social networking site that is supposed to make it easy for you to connect and share online with friends and family. Facebook was originally designed for college students and created in 2004 by Mark Zuckerberg as a student at Harvard University. Anyone over the age of 13 with a valid email address was able to join Facebook by 2006. Facebook is the world’s largest social network today, with its more than 1 billion users worldwide.

Bilderesultater for facebook

As Facebook is the world’s largest social network, this is something people exploits. Fake news and polarization are a topic Facebook has been exposed lately. For example, many people believe that because of Facebook’s fake news and polarization, Donald Trump was able to win the election as president of the United States. “Fake news is stories that appear to be news, spread on the internet or using other media, usually created to influence political views or as a joke.” (Cambridge Dictionary). So, Facebook is not only spreading fake news everywhere, it is also killing the real news. Nearly two-thirds of American adults, 68%, say they occasionally get news on social media, according to a new Pew Research Center survey (Matsa & Shearer, 2018). Imagine over half of these news to be false, instead of informing news to the world, Facebook is actually doing more to divide the world spreading its fake news.

How did Facebook affect the US president election?

Facebook is being accused of abolish its responsibility to turn down on fake news stories and counter the echo chamber that defined this election (Solon, 2016). Many people feared that fake news articles spread on Facebook settled the result of the 2016 election. There were many purveyors of fake news that aimed to help Trump win, and he did win. In the documentary “The Facebook dilemma” Mark Zuckerberg says that he does not believe that Facebook has contributed to the election result. This aroused attention and he received a lot of negative criticism for it. Later, he came out and took responsibility for what happened. He said that they did not take a broad enough view of their responsibility, and that it was a big mistake. He said he was sorry, that he is responsible for what happens on Facebook and that they did not do enough to prevent the disinformation. (Kurtzleben, 2018).

Bilderesultater for donald trump election

Facebook is a social network made for easily connection and sharing with friends and family. Unfortunately, Facebook has been used for spreading false news and polarization. This has made many people critical to Facebook and their news.

Sources:

Cambridge Dictionary. Fake news. Last read 10.02.2020 from:  https://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/fake-news

GCFGlobal (2020) What is facebook? Last read 11.02.2020. From: https://edu.gcfglobal.org/en/facebook101/what-is-facebook/1/

Kurtzleben, D. (2018, April 11.) Did Fake News on Facebook Help Elect Trump? Last read 11.02.2020 from: https://www.npr.org/2018/04/11/601323233/6-facts-we-know-about-fake-news-in-the-2016-election

Solon, O (2016, november 10.) Facebook’s failure: did fake news and polarized politics get Trump elected? Last read 10.01.2020 from: https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2016/nov/10/facebook-fake-news-election-conspiracy-theories

Shearer, E & Matsa, K, E. (2018, september 10.) News Use Across Social Media Platforms 2018. Last read 11.02.2020 from:

“The facebook dilemma” Part 1 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-oguBx7O72I

“The facebook dilemma” Part 2 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lg4XW4c9AAc

“The climate emergency, ; how can young people make an impact”

Global warming is a phenomenon of climate change characterized by a general increase in average temperatures of the Earth. It modifies the weather balances and ecosystems for a long time. It is directly linked to the increase of greenhouse gases in our atmosphere, worsening the greenhouse effect. It’s important that young people take action, because our planet are dependent on the next generations. 

How are teens receiving information regarding climate change?

The norwegian youth, receive a lot of information through social media. Social media provides us with personal thoughts and opinions, as well as reliable news from reliable sources. Lately, climate change has been a relevant and extremely popular topic within social media. Individuals with several millions of followers have through their accounts contributed to spread awareness and raise support, amongst other things. A popular instagram profile can for instance share links to fund raisers and encourage their followers to donate money. 

In addition, famous people are in many cases idols for different parts of the youth. Something which results in them having a lot of influence. This type of influence is not achievable through platforms as television and newspapers. Therefore, social media is an extremely suitable and well-functioning news platform amongst the younger audience. Recently, there has been arranged several strikes, based on not attending school, through social media. This strike was both arranged and developed on social media. And the strike reached numerous students in Scandinavia.

This proves that social media can be used as a great tool in order to reach out to the youth population – if used correctly. As mentioned, several social media platforms has contributed to spread awareness around the climate crisis on a worldwide scale. Young people receive information on the climate crisis by social media, for example on twitter.  

In October, President Trump accused climate change scientists of having a «political agenda», telling Fox News he was unconvinced that humans were responsible for the earth’s rising temperatures.

After taking office he announced the US would withdraw from the Paris climate change agreement,

How are teens responding to news about climate change?

Teens are the people of our future, and we see a lot of interest among the young people regarding the development of our climate, and the possible disastrous outcome our actions can lead to. This interest is shown when we see students not attending school to protest for the climate – for example, a recent protest arranged by the climate activist, Greta Thunberg. Young Norwegian people drop school to demonstrate and demand stronger action against climate change. The youth are especially inspired by Swedish Greta Thunberg (16) who started the protest wave last year. «We young people are unstoppable,» Thunberg said from the pulpit, referring to everyone who had participated in climate protests across much of the world.

the problem with these demonstrations, is that people take advantage of the opportunity to drop school without getting absence. There are many people who appears a bit “too-faced” because they show interest for the climate, but they still ask their parents to drive them to school.

In conclusion, young people have gotten more engaged and active in the climate debate, but there are still a lot left to take care of. We also think that since the swedish climate activist Greta has gotten so far with her work, then more teens will get more motivated to follow up the coming climate crisis.

Kristine, Mina, Hedda, Øyvind