The spotlight continues to shine on Mark Zuckerberg as his team works to control the flow of fake news and propaganda on the platform.
Of course, Facebook isn’t the only social media firm facing challenges. Twitter lost almost US$5 billion in market value when it removed one million fake and offensive accounts.
Market value is one thing, but the key issue communications professionals need to consider is the way social media’s role in society is evolving.
Health experts are united on the negative impact that prolonged social media use has on health and wellbeing. This is forcing the tech giants to pay attention, with Facebook following Apple’s lead by introducing new tools to help users spend less time on the platform.
Helping people to spend less time in the digital world, and more time in the real world, is undoubtedly a positive move. But these developments address only part of the problem the growth of social media has created.
The ease with which people can now spread misinformation and create divisions in society through social media is an issue that communicators cannot ignore. Vigilant policing of where your content is being placed is essential to avoid damage by association.
This is where communications professionals need to pay most attention – ensuring that they have clear strategies for working with social platforms to fight against the spread of misinformation.
Facebook’s introduction of the context button in Australia is a positive development which will help users evaluate the credibility of the information they view. Its commitment to working with the industry to make it easier for people to make informed decisions about the content they view and share should be lauded.
One thing is clear, if lasting change is to be created then the dynamic between brands and social platforms also needs to change. Working in partnership is the only way to address one of the biggest communication challenges of recent times.
Challenging the status quo can often be a bumpy ride, but it’s essential to create a positive change.
A focus on partnership, transparency and accountability is a vital step that needs to be taken to allow us to move from a situation of negativity and mistrust to one which encourages open, and honest, debate.