Read the First Part HERE
The news explained in rich detail about the personal life of a Bollywood actress and the news of her yet another affair with a famous director. Accompanying the news was her scantily dressed picture that left very little to the imagination.
“How do you collect news?” I asked though I already knew the answer.
“We curate,” she said, explaining that team searches for the most interesting news and with some paraphrasing place them here. She then uses the Facebook Pages with large audiences to promote such pages. She stopped for a moment and then smirked, “What we can’t create, we create.”
What she meant but didn’t say was, “We create Fake News.”
The focus of these websites is very clear. To grab the attention of today’s society who is already struggling with attention deficit. I stole a glance at one of the other screens. It had a catchy title and writing format that appeared to be like news. And a language clearly aimed towards sensationalism, rather than objective reporting. And a writing structure that sensational news is what they have to produce, and it doesn’t matter if it is fake.
Power of Incentive.
Incentives govern human behaviour. From the moment we wake up in the morning till the time we close our eyes to sleep, it is the incentive that decides and dictates every act, every decision we make.
If not for the money (or creative satisfaction), we won’t go to the work. We don’t eat that extra piece of butter cookie because we want to get fit. Sometimes we walk from the bus stop to our home, to save money. At others we pay extra hundred bucks for the UBER so that we don’t miss a critical interview. It is all governed by incentive. The world is governed by incentives.
In mid-nineties when seat belts were introduced it was expected to bring down the number of casualties due to road accidents. And it did bring down the number of drivers dying to such accidents. But the overall number of casualties increased due to the increased number of pedestrian deaths. With improved safety features the drivers had the incentive to drive faster with a decreased risk of suffering a fatal injury.
That’s the second order effect of incentive which authorities didn’t foresee while enforcing seat-belts laws.
Change incentive, change people’s behavior.
Fake Journalism on Facebook = Fakebook Journalism.
Facebook don’t incentivise people to do objective reporting. Facebook rewards stories with most activity — most likes, and comments and shares. So once people figured out the incentive structure, they promptly responded by providing more content with a “potential” to be shared. Rather than that brought out the truth.
This increased activity helps both — Facebook and the Pages that provide content. More number of engaged people on Facebook, allows Mark Zuckerberg to charge higher advertisement fees from the advertisers. Similarly, the content creators leverage more shares through affiliate marketing that weaves ads into the individual stories through delicate and thoughtful product placements.
The itch to provide sensationalism content was always there. Time and again, traditional news media has resorted to Yellow Journalism to promote the readership. The top two Newspapers in India have a supplement section that is filled with Spicy Page Three stories accompanied by colorful images that appeal to our baser instincts.
The Spanish-American War of Eighteen Ninety-Eight is a black mark on journalism that illustrates how low journalism can go to sell papers. William Randolph Hearst, the owner of The New York Journal was involved in a circulation war with Joseph Pulitzer of the New York World and saw the conflict as a way to sell papers. These newspapers ran articles of a sensationalist nature and created a whole propaganda that strangled the true spirit of journalism and focused on one goal — to sell more, doesn’t matter how.
But Facebook, by providing every one individual on this planet a “potential” to reach every other, has taken this focus at another level.
A much more dangerous impact of Fakebook Journalism is its ability to drive a propaganda …
Read the LAST PARTabout the most dangerous impact of Facebook – creating propaganda
Also published on Medium.