Fake News or Credible News Stories: No Russians in Our Ad Department

Posted by Zoe Mack on 10/04/2017

Giving full credit to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, he gave birth to this social media in a bubble because it was like nothing we had ever seen. Facebook was coddled for years with little to no regulation, unquestioned news sources, unchecked growth that now has incredible power over our lives. Granted, it only has that power that we give it.

The article compares Facebook to a rich kid stumbling out into the real world after a few cushy years at Harvard, the world’s biggest social network is starting to face the consequences of not preventing the often-unforeseen problems that keep cropping up on its platform. This includes everything from false news to real ads from agents of the Russian government trying to influence the U. S. election. I’ve been in the newspaper business almost 38 years and have not seen a Russian government official in my newsroom or advertising department. If one had appeared and wanted to buy an ad to influence an election they would have been laughed out of the building.

The Facebook platform has over two billion users. It is still not enough to match the numbers worldwide for newspaper readership. Circulation tops 2.7 billion around the globe for print readers of newspapers and then an additional 600 million that read newspapers online. The biggest difference between social media and newspapers is that the content for a newspaper goes through an editor to fact check the news stories you read. We can also be sued for not being responsible with our news coverage but Facebook avoids it since content is provided by the users of the social media.

Facebook is great for many reasons. You can stay in touch with people, see what they’re up to without having to pick up the phone, you can share news, and links, and retro #tbt photographs that make everyone cringe. BUT, (and there is always a but), there is also growing evidence to suggest that everyone’s favorite social networking site could have a potentially bad effect on its users.

All of these emerging unintended consequences from social media should cause caution for businesses and where they display company branding including on social media. The best use of Facebook for a business is to engage their customers and community building. As a direct sales tool, it is lacking for a business. Your market, business category, and resources including your time to update social media should all be considered when creating a marketing plan.

Facebook and all social media are tools for use in many aspects of your life and business. The information on Facebook has only as much credibility as we allow it to have. By the way, I also believe you should question what you read in a newspaper. It is hard to admit but we can get it wrong from time to time as well. I would submit to you that our news content and that of other newspapers around the world is far more credible then what you would read on Facebook or any other social media.

As the owner of a business, would you prefer your logo and branding to be next to fake news or a credible news stories?