Some of the largest social media giants in the world have been criticized for not doing enough to stop the spread of false news. Facebook, however, is taking steps to mitigate the flow of misinformation.
Working with Canadian not-for-profit organization MediaSmarts, the social media giant has launched a new video — as well as a tip sheet — designed to educate users and keep them media savvy.
“Facebook plays an important role in facilitating public dialogue, which is why we’re committed to making it a safe and secure environment for authentic civic engagement,” said Kevin Chan, Facebook Canada’s head of public policy, in a December 14th, 2017 media release. “We’ve partnered with MediaSmarts to help Canadians make more informed decisions in the lead up to the next election, as digital literacy is critical to preventing the spread of false news.”
The video itself outlines three clear steps that users can take to recognize misinformation online. First, users should check the original source of a post to make sure that the source actually exists. Second, users should use fact-checking sites and services like Snopes.com. Finally, users should “think before you share.”
The tip sheet expands on the information on the video, providing readers with a list of steps they can take to protect themselves from misinformation.
Admittedly, the video does very little to acknowledge Facebook’s own role in failing to police much of the fake news and misinformative stories that spread in the wake of the 2016 U.S. presidential election — as well as the false stories that continue to circulate on the social media platform.
Not to mention, the new video seems to place the onus of understanding and verifying information on the user, and not the platform itself.
Facebook formally announced its plans to ensure Canada’s election integrity on October 19th, 2017.
In addition to announcing a two-year partnership with MediaSmarts, Facebook also said it would create a cyberthreat crisis email line that politicians and political parties could connect with, in the event that their accounts were compromised. Facebook also announced plans to implement a cyber hygiene training program for political parties and politicians.
Facebook, Twitter and Google have all under intense scrutiny for their inability to limit the spread of fake news and foreign propaganda during the 2016 U.S. elections.
The three media companies appeared before the U.S. Senate in late October and early November 2017, to discuss the effects of Russian-linked ads and accounts on social media users.