Whose Responsibility is it?

In our current online climate, we’ve been plagued by misinformation and fake news. While most of this comes from social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, other “sources” of information are beginning to do so including the very news that comes on every single night. So, whose responsibility is it to stop this?

While I feel like it ultimately comes down to us as users of social media platforms to do our own fact checking and research, our lives could be made a bit easier with some help from these sites. Twitter has done a pretty solid job in trying to warn its users about misinformation by flagging certain posts that have to do with controversial topics. They’ve also given us the opportunity to flag and report harmful posts which has definitely helped limit misinformation, and it makes sense that Twitter has put some of the responsibility into our hands as there are millions of tweets a day. Things like politics and Covid-19 are just a couple of examples that automatically get flagged by Twitter warning users that not everything said may be factual.

I feel like Twitter is a prime example of what social media platforms – specifically Facebook – should follow. While I feel the overall responsibility falls onto the social media site themselves for implementing policies and codes that can flag misinformation or mute/suspend/ban harmful users, that doesn’t mean we can’t try to limit this as well and make these platforms a better place.

However, we know that not all platforms are interested in this. Facebook has already been proven to manipulate the information on their site in order to gain more traffic. In fact, this has been an issue for many years now with the site and despite multiple claims that they are working to stop this, it’s clear that money is their main priority and clicks = $.

This is where I feel like an ever-higher power will need to step in such as the government. While I really don’t think this should be necessary at all because the power running these sites should the ones improving the issue, when they blatantly refuse to do so, then action should be taken. This has already been an issue discussed as a poll conducted in 2021 showed almost half of Americans want the government to do more to stop misinformation. However, some argue that there has already been enough restriction on speech online and in the world and allowing more would give the government too much power.

Overall, I’d feel like the ultimate goal would be to just do as much as we can to flag and report misinformation we see online. Despite some efforts being made by social media sites, it has to be difficult to keep up with millions of daily users, millions of posts, shares, retweets, etc. because with this many users we will likely never see the end of misinformation. However, we can definitely make an impact on how common it is, and the sooner we are able to identify and remove it, the more discouraging it would be to create and post. One can hope this would ultimately result in some sort of end to the problem.

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