Let’s talk about Trump’s favourite phrase – fake news!
Whilst many of us would say social media is great for keeping in contact with friends or posting those Contiki photos, there is a dark side to these channels, with many social media sites facing a huge problem with the spread of disinformation and fake news.
Click farms are not a new phenomenon, they have been around for several years now and have been set up all across the world, designed to create fake interest or engagement to the highest bidder. These click farms manufacture fake profiles, likes, shares and views through bots or even using manual labour and hundreds of phones!
Many people have purchased fake likes, followers and views including government agencies, politicians and celebrities.
It’s becoming alarming the number of fake profiles on social media channels, with an ABC report estimating the following:
- Twitter – 48million fake profiles (15% of its users)
- Facebook – 60million fake profiles
- Donald Trump – 60% of his followers are fake
However, it’s not just high-profile accounts that purchase these fake likes, a quick google search shows that it’s very easy for the average social media user to buy followers and likes to ‘boost’ their profile.
I find it concerning how easily our social media feeds can be manipulated, and especially worry for those that cannot see or understand this manipulation.
Recently I spotted a sponsored advert on my Facebook feed for some product I had a vague interest in. What did catch my eye was this post had over 4,000 likes and 500 shares, which didn’t sit right with me. I decided to do some further investigation where I realised that many of these comments were made by fake profiles and accounts.
Simple ways to determine whether accounts are fake include checking when the account was set up, how many friends they have and if the profile has any activity on its page. Whilst younger generations may be able to spot these fake stories and profiles, I fear that even my parents’ generation may not be quite as savvy when it comes to detecting these frauds.
Do you think you can discern the factual from the fake? Please leave a comment with examples of fake news you have seen on social media.