Over a month ago, Facebook made the news when it announced that it was going to roll out a feature which allowed it’s users to report news that was fake or had false information in it. A great idea (in my opinion) which doesn’t seem to have started working yet. It also doesn’t account for people posting a true article with a fake or misleading caption of their own.
Last Friday, I saw articles being shared all over Facebook that a new Harry Potter movie was being made based on the play The Cursed Child and that the original cast would be reprising their roles of Harry, Ron, and Hermione. Big entertainment websites were reporting this and people were sharing it saying how excited they were.
The only problem was that it was not true. J.K. Rowling, the creator of all things Harry Potter, had tweeted it herself on her personal twitter account that these rumors had no truth and that it wasn’t happening.
I mean, I’m not sure what time zones these people were reporting from, but look at the time zones on the tweet she made and the article shared on Facebook. According to those, she tweeted a good 30 minutes before the article was even shared that this was fake but they “reported” it anyways. AND, Movie Pilot did not even make a correction to the article until Jan. 23rd, three days later. Even then, they left the article title intact so you may share it without even reading the article because the correction is halfway down the article on the website. You have to scroll to see it. I reported some of these articles (because I am passionate about my Harry Potter) with Facebook’s new fake news feature, but yet they are still there and still being shared by people who don’t actually read the article.
But in the grand scheme of things, it’s just Harry Potter. Not like they are reporting about some big political thing or government hearing so it’s OK, right?
Now here is a situation that is trickier for Facebook to monitor and requires more work on your part.
I saw someone on Facebook today post this article from USA Today with the following caption:
Now, the article itself, is actually all true. You can read it here if you want to. Basically, a writer for SNL tweeted a joke about Barron Trump to which there was backlash and she got fired by SNL. I will say that I am not a huge fan of Trump and I even agreed that the joke was inappropriate for many reasons. Anyways, this article is TRUE. But then…
7 minutes later the same person posts this status on Facebook:
The last sentence is what we are really focusing on here. They said “…I do not know how anyone would continue to watch the show unless that writer is let go”. This is AFTER they just posted an article stating that same writer WAS let go. This indicates, to me, that they did not read the previous article (or headline) because exactly what they are asking for has already happened! Now, if you only read their status you might think “how unjust, this person should lose their job” when in fact they already have. And there is no button on Facebook to report this kind of activity. Someone spreading false information as truth.
So what can you do? I think we all need to really read and consider what we share on social media. Don’t just share or retweet something because of the title. Also, you need to constantly keep things updated. For example, if you shared an article about a new Harry Potter movie and then later found it that isn’t true, I think you are responsible to delete or undo your retweet about that.