Education Is Needed To Combat Fake News

The topic of fake news has taken up much bandwidth in recent months, and it doesn't appear to be going off into the sunset so quickly. Last week Facebook said it would demote Web pages that carry low quality advertising, and it's likely more such moves will occur.

Content recommendation engines like Taboola have been caught in the cross-hairs of fake news. Writing in a blog post last week, Taboola CEO Adam Singolda encouraged digital advertising stakeholders to become more informed on what constitutes fake vs. what might be satire, opinion, or merely entertainment. Singolda said calling out everything that doesn’t serve a particular agenda fake news, may have implications as negative as fake news itself.

Emphasizing the human aspect in identifying fake news, Singolda his company has hired people whose sole focus is on reviewing and categorizing content. He expects to continue investing in this resource.

Singolda writes that while fake news won’t disappear completely, some measures can be taken to reduce its proliferation. He says companies need to firmly establish what will and won’t be tolerated, participate in conversations about the topic; ask hard questions, and add humans to the technology.

He also suggests that consumers need to be educated to identify fake news when they see it. “Let’s equip people around the world with the skills to identify the vast majority of fake sites by looking at its template, the URL formatting, logo borrowing, and more… We can make spotting ‘fake news’ a new muscle memory,” he wrote.

Finally, Singolda maintained that while everything looks the same on a social feed, consumers and organizations need to “celebrate imaginative, creative, and even provocative content” and “surround ‘fake news’ with so much good and light, that it won’t matter anymore.” Everything isn’t “terrible, or fake,” Singolda said. The Internet should be used to promote good, not evil.

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