The propaganda medium?

“It’s a propaganda medium!”

Which news source do you think this quote describes in today’s Los Angeles Times? Maybe Fox News, Huffington Post, Breitbart, or MSNBC?

Actually, it’s social media, and this quote is from Dave McClure, founder of 500 Startups. In an angry outburst at the Web Summit in Lisbon, he spoke about the election of Donald Trump and the tech industry’s responsibility to regulate fake news posted on social networks that reach hundreds of millions of people. He said social media is now spreading propaganda in the same vein as talk radio and cable networks.

The article in the Los Angeles Times focuses primarily on the influence of Facebook, and it quotes the figure we discussed last night in our talk about online journalism. According to the Pew Research Center, 44 percent of Americans now get their news from Facebook. And Facebook reports that there were 716.3 million posts, likes, and comments about the election on the social media platform.

So Facebook might now be one of the most powerful platforms in the country for swaying public opinion – holding the position that newspapers and news networks once did. What responsibility do you think Facebook has to the public?

Click here to read the entire article, “After Trump’s win, even some in Silicon Valley wonder: Has Facebook grown too influential?”

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