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Fake News and Social Media

Fake News and Social Media

23rd May 2018
0900 - 1100

“Fake News” was Collins’ Word of the Year for 2017. Increasingly a ubiquitous term in western politics, it has become synonymous with false, often sensationalist stories masquerading under the premise of accuracy. Such stories, usually taking a hyper-partisan viewpoint, are often shared by like-minded people on social networks, usually without being aware of their illegitimacy.

With over 52 percent of the British population on Facebook - the issue plays a major role in how members of the public interact with the media.

Fake news is also central to the new information Cold War, with foreign powers and rogue states increasingly making us of it to spread misinformation and confusion amongst members of the public.

Big Data has a vital role to play in leading the fight-back against fake news and encouraging people to share and discuss accurate reporting. In 2015, Google published a paper setting out an algorithm by which news websites would be given a score determining their accuracy, which would limit their position in search results. The European Union has also launched Pheme, which models for veracity in social media stories.  

This panel discussion will bring together academics, media executives, and journalists to discuss how big data can be used to build upon these ideas and improve how the public are informed about the nature of reporting. It will also look into recent developments in how social media is engaging with the issue, and the DCMS Select Committee inquiry into the matter.  

The key issues that will be discussed are: 

  1. What are the problems ‘fake news’ presents to the body politic?
  2. How can big data be used to respond to websites and individuals that spread erroneous stories?
  3. In what ways can policy makers promote accurate reporting and news stories?
Jubilee Room
Westminster Hall
Houses of Parliament
United Kingdom