Misinformation, also known as false or misleading information, has been around for as long as people have been communicating with each other.
Misinformation can be used to intentionally deceive people or to spread false beliefs. It has the potential to cause harm to individuals and society.
As social media platforms became a breeding ground for misinformation, rebuilding trust in the media online is as important as ever.
Do People in the MENA Region Trust the News on Social Media?
While 75% of Arabs use social media platforms to get news and updates, trust into social media news declined during the last year from 45% to 42.9%, according to the Arab Opinion Index 2022 released last Tuesday by The Arab Center for Research and Policy Studies (ACRPS) in Doha.
The index found that the trustworthiness of different sources of information is not equal. News organisations are generally seen as the most trustworthy sources with 48.2%, followed by anchors and journalists.
The general public is viewed as less trustworthy. Moreover, despite their popularity, internet influencers are often seen as the least trustworthy sources with only 32.6% vouching for their reliability.
How to Rebuild Trust in Social News?
It is important to be aware of the potential for misinformation to cause serious harm. It is equally important to be careful about what sources of information we trust and to be proactive in seeking out accurate and reliable information.
Trust in the news online has been eroded in recent year, several steps can be taken to restore it.
The ultimate way to help ensure that the information on social media is accurate is to combine human and Artificial Intelligence (AI) efforts to identify patterns or anomalies that may indicate the presence of false or misleading information.
A combination of machine learning algorithms and human review is an effective approach.
The machine learning algorithms can be used to identify patterns or anomalies in the data that may indicate the presence of false or misleading information. These patterns or anomalies can then be reviewed by human experts who can verify the findings and make a determination about whether the information is false or misleading.
Additionally, human experts can provide feedback to the machine learning algorithms to improve their performance over time. Most of social media platforms are using such techniques already, and many other examples are used for account identification, for example.
Moreover, partnering with organization like IFCN and empowering local Fact checkers like Misbar is now a necessity, not a choice.
Another way to increase trust on social media is to have a system of verified accounts, similar to the paid blue checkmark that Elon Must recently implemented on Twitter or using eKYC technology like the one used by Baaz “The Arab Social Network.” eKYC is a process of verifying the identity of a customer electronically.
Verification indicates that profiles are authentic.
Reliable Sources of News
Encouraging people to rely on reliable sources of information, such as established news organisations or research institutions.
By prioritising trusted sources on algorithms, rather than relying on paid ads to promote them, social media platforms can ensure that their users have access to accurate and reliable information.
Education and Legislation
Educating people about how to spot misinformation and how to fact-check information can also be helpful in creating a more trustworthy social media environment.
Legislation can also play a major role without transgressing and curtailing freedom of speech.
Finally, moderating the content that is allowed on social media platforms can also help to reduce the spread of misinformation.
This can include deprioritising or even removing false or misleading content and banning accounts that consistently spread false information.
To rebuild trust in social media news, media outlets and individuals should ensure that the information they disseminate is accurate and fact-checked, provide diverse perspectives, be transparent about their sources and editorial process, encourage engagement with diverse perspectives, and promote media literacy.
Rebuilding trust on social media platforms is a collective endeavor that involves media outlets, social media platforms, and individuals to reduce the spread of misinformation.