The social media misinformation assault of 2016 could end up being a mere prelude to what’s coming with the 2020 presidential election.
If you vote and you use Facebook, fake news in the form of political advertising on Facebook is coming, likely in tidal wave proportions.
According to a recent article (https://bit.ly/33DWkck) published by The Poynter Institute and later confirmed in other news reports, White House candidates are already spending heavily on Facebook ads that range from misleading to outright lies. Why? Because fact-checkers are forbidden from flagging falsehoods posted by candidates.
It’s true. With Facebook, there is no fact-seeking filter through which video, text and photo political ads run. Whatever campaigners want to say, to claim as the truth, that’s what Facebook users will consume.
According to Facebook Library Ads, one presidential candidate recently promoted 5,883 ads on Facebook in just one month. Can you imagine how many people and how much time it would take for fact-checkers to verify all of those ads? And remember, that’s just one candidate. The leading presidential contenders are all amassing huge warchests, so this is just a tuneup.
Please, be skeptical of every political advertisement on any platform. When it comes to Facebook, be downright cynical.
Facebook’s reach can, unfortunately, sway the masses. According to social media industry reports as of Sept. 4:
• Facebook has 2.41 billion active users; 210 million in the U.S. (That’s two-thirds of the entire U.S. population.)
• Of all the people on the internet, 83 percent of women and 75 percent of men use Facebook.
• 62 percent of 65-and-over internet users are on Facebook; it’s 72 percent of those 50 to 64 years old
• 82 percent of college graduates are on Facebook
And yet with all that age and accomplishment and assumed wisdom, many Americans are going to believe whatever Facebook ads are dishing out — especially if they’re predisposed to a particular candidate or political philosophy.
Assume you’re being lied to, because there’s a very good chance you are.