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Are social networking sites good for society?
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Social media is a medium through which people spread disinformation

The spread of disinformation on social networks, primarily in the form of fake news, is a key problem that can have real-life consequences if believed by social media users.

The Argument

Social media has radically changed not only how we interact with one another, but also how we stay informed about the world that we live in through this interconnectedness. There are 3.6 billion social media users worldwide, and this figure is expected to increase to 4.41 billion within the next 5 years. [1] Among these users are common people, politicians, celebrities, and most importantly, media outlets. We are increasingly exposed to thoughts, ideas and opinions whose truth-value we cannot be certain of due to the lack of credibility of the source. That said, such opinions, published by sources with a questionable reputation can be widely disseminated and reach an audience size similar to major news publications such as the New York Times. Facebook is one social networking site through which fake news websites are shared and attract a greater readership with nearly 2 billion users viewing all types of trending content. [2] Consequently, it is also a medium through which many are misinformed which is in no way a positive contribution to society. Fake news has real-life implications beyond misinformation and has plagued the political landscape by disseminating news that influences political outcomes. For example, misinformation concerning presidential candidates through fake news publications greatly plagued the 2016 US election. [3] With the above said, social media sites are not good for society as they spread disinformation and provide a platform through which fake news can be shared easily and globally.

Counter arguments

While it may be that social media users have been misinformed through fake news stories that appear on social media sites, it should be noted that platforms such as Facebook are continuing to tackle this problem. In response to claims about fake news influencing the 2016 US presidential election, Facebook introduced a ban on advertisement linked to fake news outlets. [4]Furthermore, Facebook also published an official policy outlining their stance on fake news, banning ads that serve to misinform users of the social media site. That said, Facebook is no longer a medium through which fake news can be shared in line with user guidelines, although the same cannot be said for other sites such as Twitter.



Rejecting the premises


This page was last edited on Saturday, 7 Nov 2020 at 20:38 UTC

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