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Last month, a news alert came through that the European Union slapped Google with a $2.7 billion fine for breaking antitrust law. The EU judged that Google had “abused its dominate position by systematically favoring” its own shopping comparison services while demoting its competitors’ listings. There’s some irony, then, in the recent bid by a coalition of 2,000+ US and Canadian newspapers—the News Media Alliance (NMA)-- for a limited antitrust exemption from Congress which would let news organizations collectively bargain with Facebook and Google, like a union would. Some believe the internet giants have only gained their dominance by skirting antitrust regulations.
Will the U.S. Congress grant the antitrust reprieve and allow news publishers to band together at the bargaining table with Google and Facebook? It’s not clear. The media’s request might not be so enthusiastically received by the Republican-controlled Congress.
What is clear is that fake news continues to dominate Facebook News Feed and the top results of Google’s search engine. Whether because they lack the ability or the desire, Facebook and Google have not yet stepped up to guarantee the accuracy of reporting upheld by reputable news associations. So what are we to do about the fake news crisis?
Then whose fault is this rise in fake news? Are Google and Facebook the culprits? Is it a U.S. Congress that seems reluctant to take action even as European lawmakers are cracking down? Or, is it ultimately, a bunch of us that prefer to get our news from Facebook rather than reputable, paid news sources? Maybe it doesn’t matter. The fact is real news costs. Good news is time consuming and expensive. As NMA president and chief executive David Chavern explains, “Facebook and Google don’t employ reporters. They don’t dig through public records to uncover corruption, send correspondents into war zones or attend last night’s game to get the highlights.”
In situations where it really matters whether we’re relying on verified, accurately-reported news, the fact is, we’re probably going to have to pay for it.
But, if we’re going to continue to use these free (or very cheap) news sources in less critical situations, then it’s up to us to figure out if it’s real. These tips to ferret out fake news have been often reported but here are a few of the key ones:
We’re not defenseless against fake news. It’s annoying for sure, to have to sift through it, double and triple check the sources, cover our bases by accessing multiple channels, or check our pulses to make sure we haven’t bought into some sort of sensationalism.
But if you’ve gotten your news from Facebook or other social media, Google or a variety of other free web sources without verification from multiple reputable news publishers … well, then, you got what you paid for.
1. “Fake News” may be around for a while. Read more tips to Combat Fake News!
2. Learn from LexisNexis experts on forthcoming media industry trends.
3. Discover how Nexis can help to sift through the clutter to find reputable news.