FOUR CORNERS explores the battle of the social networks in terms of fake news

Four Corners
Source: ABC

FAKE NEWS: THE BATTLE OF THE SOCIAL NETWORKS

Fake News: the battle of the social networks

“I think we need to worry about fake news.  People dismiss it is as being frivolous. It’s not. I think it’s the biggest crisis that we face as humankind because it’s dividing us. And as we’re divided we’re going get to a point where democracy is no longer functioning.” Claire Wardell, Founder of First Draft

Social media has transformed the way we communicate and how we express our thoughts and emotions.  Whether it’s Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp or any number of digital platforms, there are more ways than ever for people to make their views known.

“If I see a piece of content that I have an emotional response to it takes less than a second for me to share.”   Claire Wardell, Founder of First Draft

The emergence of this online “public square” was initially hailed as a political game changer, allowing anyone with a mobile phone to hold the powerful to account.

“They have given (a) voice to those silenced people.   And I’m not only talking about non democratic regimes where people through social media can spread information but I’m also talking about in democratic systems.”  Sílvia Majó, Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism

As the number of users has soared into the billions, it has also become a battleground for fiercely contested arguments.

“What social media does is give more weight and more value to the people who shout loudest.”  John Carlin, author

Now the concern is that social media sites have morphed into the perfect platform for orchestrated disinformation campaigns.

“Information warfare is a weapon and a very dangerous weapon.” Adam B. Ellick, Director of Opinion Video, New York Times

In the sea of content uploaded every second, it has become increasingly difficult to distinguish between what is real and what is false.

“It’s easier than even before to create false content and it’s going to be circulating at speed in these trusted networks.”   Claire Wardell, Founder of First Draft

As governments around the world grapple with calls to regulate what is published on social media, and with tech companies fiercely resisting attempts to curtail their business model, this timely program explores these key issues.

“Companies have a strong responsibility in terms of making sure that their platforms aren’t being used to disseminate hate or propaganda.”  Adrian Shahbaz, Director for Democracy at Freedom House

This documentary from Spanish director David Fontseca explores the difficult dilemmas around who decides what is or isn’t the “truth”.

“The risk of governments regulating social media is that they will regulate something that we don’t fully understand.” Prof Sandra G Bailón, Annenberg School for Communication

Fake News, directed by David Fontseca, goes to air on Monday 16th September at 8.30pm. It is replayed on Tuesday 17th September at 1.00pm and Wednesday 18th at 11.20pm. It can also be seen on ABC NEWS channel on Saturday at 8.10pm AEST, ABC iview and at abc.net.au/4corners.

 

FOUR CORNERS: Monday 16 September 2019 at 8:30pm AEST on ABC