Fact Checking is the New Norm!
Social media provides many benefits that are have embraced. However, social media can used to promote fake news. Fake new on Social Media has fueled mistrust of the democratic process. In many ways social media has made us lazy and dependent on others to provide us with information. After the 2016 election, we can no longer assume all information we read is reliable. We all have to fact check the source of the information we receive.
A good example is the use of fake Facebook accounts in 2016 to spread false news and mislead people. This had serious effects on the 2016 elections in the US. Facebook removed the fake accounts after the elections. This happened because people just read and forwarded fake news from fake websites without fact checking.
Malicious groups have used the same tactics in other countries to manipulate their elections. The US government last year indited a number of Russian individuals for interference. This group was foreign grown and culminated in the arrest of 14 Russians who were involved in the manufacture of fake news.
Using Fake News to Create Divisions in Society
Our greatest concerns are being used to create further division and foster descent in our country. The 2016 elections provided an outpouring of false information that created confusion and affected the way people voted. This was a sophisticated scheme to mislead the public to support false claims made by non-Americans. The Internet Research Agency, a Kremlin-linked Russian troll group, set up a vast network of fake American activist groups and used the stolen identities of real Americans in an attempt to wreak havoc on the U.S. political system.
How do they do it?
There were more than 250 black men killed by police in the United States in 2016. Most of them never made the local news. However, when a young man in a Minneapolis suburb was stopped by police, his girlfriend was live streaming the entire incident on Facebook. The live stream captured the aftermath of Philando Castile’s fatal shooting by a police officer.
Thousands of miles away the story was picked up by Russian trolls. They proceeded to create a fake organization and organize a demonstration in front of the police prescient where the officer was stationed. Many people responding saying they were planning to attend. The local “Black Lives Matter” organization did not post this invitation. The local Black Lives Matter organization found the wording of the advertisement strange. They do on use the words “Don’t Shoot” in their communications anymore. They decided some time back that the words did not reflect their beliefs. It was a red flag to see it on the invitation.
Efforts to reach the organizers were not answered. The local “Black Lives Matter“ organization decided to take over the event and provide marshals and security to ensure that their people were safe.“Trust but verify the source” allowed Black Lives matter to turn around a possible disaster. In so doing they fact checked the source. It was a dead end. Not everything we read is true. It is best to be cautious and fact check the information we read. It could save a life or put others in danger.
Why do they do it?
The foreign groups are paid millions to fabricate these fake stories. The goal is to discredit persons whose goals they opposed by writing fake stories. They are supporting their own countries. Their propaganda bolsters persons they feel who would lobby on their behalf and their country’s interest. As the next election approaches, Facebook has already seen a rise in fake accounts and are trying to remove them as they pop up. This is a huge task. Now that we know that rogues were trying to manipulate our views. We have to take some responsibility to fact check posted articles. Fact checking is the new norm. We cannot allow the bad guys to manipulate our lives again.