Reframing Public Conversations
May 1, 2018

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Social MediaThought LeadershipTrendsTactics

New in Digital is a blog series dedicated to highlighting digital news from across the web and explaining what those developments mean for organizations in the public affairs environment.

Hashtag speech bubble

Social media’s ubiquity has opened up new means of communication, connecting a huge part of the world’s population in a massive network. While it provides new opportunities for meaningful and productive conversations between almost anyone, that doesn’t always happen. Twitter is now making their efforts to curb online hate and trolling public, and Facebook is officially enlisting Wikipedia to fight fake news.

Facebook’s new fake news tool is partially powered by Wikipedia

Remember a few years ago when people questioned the reliability of Wikipedia and students were told to skip the ever-expanding resource? Times have changed, and that’s apparent in Facebook’s new move. To fight misinformation on the platform, the company has deployed Wikipedia as a safeguard. Now when users tap an information icon on an article, the publication’s Wikipedia entry will pop up.

Facebook says this was developed with the Facebook Journalism Project. It’ll be interesting to see how this tool develops, since Wikipedia can be edited by anyone. Will Facebook eventually build its own index of news-reliability information or continue relying on the citizen-editors of Wikipedia?

Twitter publicizing rules around abuse to see if behavior changes

Twitter unfortunately has a reputation for simultaneously hosting rich conversation and allowing toxic vitriol to grow unchecked. The company is trying to tackle that reputation by launching a study in online abuse. Twitter is testing an idea that if it shows people its rules, behavior will improve.

Twitter will provide anonymized, aggregated information to the researchers in the hopes that they will identify a clear course of action for the platform to demand compliance from its user base. The researchers are hoping that, as in previous experiments, when institutions publish rules clearly, people are more likely to follow them.

Public conversation on Twitter during breaking news events

It seem likes every few minutes there’s a new breaking news alert that pops on our phones. Twitter wants to ensure the information on their platform during a breaking news event is credible and authentic.

They plan on monitoring accounts to ensure that tweets that are featured in the platform’s moments about a given news event are from reliable users. The company plans to focus on identifying and “surfacing relevant and credible content” users can trust.

In the current political climate, social media companies must remain vigilant about how their users behave and how well equipped they are to make assessments of the information they encounter. If the platforms aren’t careful, they could alienate the communities that make their sites worth visiting.

Stay tuned for more New in Digital posts.