26 January 2017

Taking Back the Power

Journalists can redeem authority of news from social media through their authenticity.

The abundance of fake news these days makes the need for authentic and truthful journalism all the more necessary. This need for ‘real’ news challenges the authority that social media currently holds.

Journalists need to present authenticity in a world where social media provides access to fake news. 

Statistics published by DreamGrow this year showed that, in addition to the 1.65 billion active mobile social accounts globally, there are an extra 1 million new users each day.

The volume of social media traffic this displays emphasises just how many people are susceptible to coming across fake news stories.

In December 2016 Buzzfeed News released analysis which showed 23 of the 50 most successful fraudulent stories found on Facebook were focussed on US politics. In total, 10.6 million of 21.5 million shares, reactions, and comments on Facebook last year were from fake US politics news stories.

This puts into perspective the influence that social media has in the news industry as well as how difficult it then is to rectify a situation once a fake story has already entered the social media mainstream.

The digital platform of social media makes it easier than ever to access and share information making it almost impossible to control the hoax stories that people are so readily believing.

The presence of fake news stories provides journalists with an opportunity to take back the authority they once had by becoming a source of truthful news with honest facts amidst the array of fake stories.

Mark Thompson, President and CEO of the New York Times, said: “So we find ourselves in a battle, not between left and right, nor elites and ‘ordinary’ people, nor between traditional and digital media, but between fact and lies.”


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