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What’s Real and What’s Not: Facebook and Twitter Face Controversy

It is not new information that we live in a world that is heavily saturated by media and an overloading of technological devices. I mean, come on… my 90-year-old grandfather now has an iPad and has just learnt how to FaceTime me. If that doesn’t bring the point home, then I don’t know what will.

With access to endless forms of social media like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, which are main players in the industry, there is no shortage of news or information circulating in the form of online articles or videos.

Here are some stats for you just to put the monopoly that Facebook holds over Internet users into perspective. According to Brandwatch, the Internet has 3.17 billion users, with 1.71 billion users on Facebook. Out of that, there are an estimated 80 million fake profiles. Facebook adds 500,000 new users per day (which equates to 6 new profiles per second) and it now sees an average of 8 billion daily video views from 500 million users.

While it is inevitable that information circulated on Facebook is not always reliable, this has sparked controversy in light of the recent presidential election. In an article posted by the BBC, they stated “Facebook became mired in controversy after some users complained fake news changed the outcome of the US election.”

Naturally, Zuckerberg was quick to post on his own profile, stating that Facebook takes fake news very seriously and they are working on the complex problem. He has previously claimed, “99% of [Facebook’s] content was authentic.”

In relation to this controversy surrounding fake news that could have potentially swayed readers in the wrong direction during the election, there has also been a surge of hate posts on social media platforms. Along with fake news and an outburst of cyber racism, it seems as if the Internet could just collapse in on itself.

A day after the election, a Twitter feed titled “Day 1 in Trump’s America” featured a collection of tweets documenting racist episodes that minorities were facing after Trump became the President-elect.

Now, Twitter has come under fire after “accidentally” allowing a white supremacy advert titled: “New Article: The United States Was Founded as a White Peoples Republic” to appear on their news feed. Of course, Twitter’s Chief Executive Jack Dorsey was quick to apologize, stating it was a mistake that their automated system allowed an ad promoting hatred like this. While Twitter has suspended accounts linked to this post and claims it will take action against further cyber bullying, this leads me to question the truth behind this racist advert. We all know that “all publicity is good publicity.” Is it possible that this ad placement was not a mistake?


The ad that was posted

The Internet is a wild and scary place, people. Remember, it is important to take certain articles and videos with a grain of salt. Don’t share information without checking its credibility, and be sure you are able to back up any information you share online.

Most importantly, we must not let this racist abuse continue on the Internet without ensuring that those posting face the consequences. Report all racist posts and behaviour the moment that you come across it. Let’s work together to create a safer space for those being targeted on the Internet. 


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