Facebook and Twitter are determined to stamp out misinformation as the midterm elections approach. Citing fake news stories as a reason people lose trust in social media, both social media platforms cited studies that prove people believe that they are shown deceptive content.
To stop fake accounts, the social media platforms now require a legitimate mailing address for political advertisers. Facebook said that they had already taken down more than a billion fake accounts in the first half of this year. Twitter deleted more than 70 million fake accounts in two months this year. Twitter is allowing users to flag fake accounts with its spam reporting tool as well. YouTube is busy deleting disinformation campaigns as well. They found almost 40 YouTube channels operated by the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting that YouTube officials said were part of a coordinated account. Fortunately, the English-language videos didn’t have many views.
Social media is in a tough spot of determining what is factually inaccurate and what is a legitimate viewpoint. Third-party fact-checkers, such as Newstrition®, are stepping up to help social media users check a story’s sources and determine for themselves if a statement is true. Newstrition only provides facts, it lets users decide for themselves if they are reading fact or fiction.
Facebook says that they are finding from posts from fake accounts originating in Iran. The posts contain memes meant to attract shares from liberals. The Iranian government denies involvement and there is no proof of government involvement.
Social media platforms also have to deal with fake accounts from marketers, scammers and police who don’t care about the election.
In the 2016 election ads from Russian-based Internet Research Agency, the majority of the ads had racial themes. Only a few of the ads mentioned a preference for a candidate.