Public Relations

Guardian takes a stance to battle misinformation

The Guardian is going to date stamp news stories over 12 months old with the year of publication to limit the sharing of misinformation, BBC News has reported.

I’m sure you’ve seen people sharing news stories and expressing their views on your timelines, only to click on the story and find it’s from years ago. The issue with social media is people can share without really looking and what was once a big news story spreads like wildfire as if it was new.

But the more serious side, as BBC News reported, it that “It [the Guardian] said partisan groups had been sharing old news stories as though they had been recently published in order to push an agenda.”

Recent reports have shown that the public is becoming increasingly concerned about misinformation and fake news. For example, the Edelman Trust Barometer 2019 found that 73% of respondents were worried about fake news being used as a weapon. And, according to the Guardian, it appears that some groups are trying to do just that.

This move by the Guardian is certainly a step in the right direction in providing clarity and it is good to see a media outlet taking more responsibility for the content that they post. It will help to ensure that more people think before they share.

It will be interesting to see if more media outlets take the same or similar steps too.

BBC News also stated that they had contacted Twitter and Facebook to ask why the original publication date wasn’t displayed by default.

“Facebook declined to comment on the Guardian’s initiative but said it had independent fact-checking partners looking at articles, photos and videos in 24 languages. Twitter declined to comment” reported BBC News.

Social media channels have come under fire in recent months for not taking responsibility as a publisher to take down inappropriate content, vet political adverts and stop incidents like the New Zealand mosque attacks being live streamed. But that’s a whole other discussion for another blog post, perhaps.

To see the Guardian using its position as a source of information responsibly is encouraging. There is still a long way to go, but this is a step in the right direction.

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