How social channels are beginning to dispel ‘Fake News’

Maranatha Peterside, Senior Account Executive and Chloe Platts, Senior Account Manager

Over the past few years, social media platforms have been trying to dispel fake news. Whether it’s political elections or, more recently, vaccine information it’s easy for almost anyone to spread incorrect information across social channels. Something that we as consumers tend to hold platforms responsible for.

As a social channel, Facebook is constantly evolving away from its beginnings as a site for college students to keep in touch, and now it’s looking at becoming a hub for news. Since Facebook News launched in the US last year, several major news publishers, including Channel 4, Sky News, and The Guardian have signed deals with Facebook to provide content.

With roughly 2.8 billion monthly active users, fake news travels fast. It’s great to see that Facebook are actively finding ways to ensure that the content that is distributed across the platform is from reputable sources.

What does this mean for brands and businesses? Well, it could open up new opportunities for paid social, by keeping people on the platform for longer, and gather more insights from readers. It could allow for even more effective targeting. The Facebook News hub gives users a reason to visit, and stay-in platform and whilst in the hub, users will be fed a mix of major daily news stories and “personalised” news selected for each reader based on their interests, as decided by Facebook’s algorithm.

From previous experience we know that there is a pattern of algorithms favouring accounts that test out new platform updates, meaning that where possible media outlets should plan to test out the new hub, especially as Facebook is looking to “provide publishers with new advertising and subscription ‘opportunities’.”

Alongside this, Twitter made a move this week to acquire Revue, a newsletter platform for writers and publishers. This marks Twitter’s first step into building out long-form content. For a platform known for its stringent character limits, this is a smart move from the channel, which is already a go-to platform for journalists. Twitter has said that Revue will “accelerate our work to help people stay informed about their interests while giving all types of writers a way to monetize their audience”. Although this won’t affect businesses in the near future, over time this new venture could push Twitter to start exploring more long-form content on its platform, this could lead to opportunities such as the addition of thought leadership articles that we usually see on LinkedIn.

In a mobile-first world, curators are used to following best practice guidance of ‘the snappier the content, the better’, but these new transitions could be paving the way for change. It seems like the old saying ‘content is king’ is back. Not just any content but long-form content.

Thanks to internet connectivity there’s no need to wait for the 5 o’clock news. Breaking news can be streamed on our small screens in a matter of seconds, so it’s no surprise that there has been a growing demand for speedy news content. In the past, several governments around the world have put pressure on social media platforms to monitor and dispel disinformation. Because of this, the introduction of a fact checked site seemed inevitable, and it looks like social channels are heading in the right direction.

 

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