The debate over how social media is handling--and should handle--false political advertising covers a lot of ground.
On one side, Mark Zuckerberg's public declaration that Facebook will continue to accept payments for political advertisements without fact-checking. On the other, Twitter's line in the sand it will not accept political advertising at all.
As the debate plays out, it's worth asking: Is social media, designed to give anyone and everyone their 15 minutes of fame, be it via a slip-and-fall meme or a cat video, the place to get vetted information on our government and its leaders?
The internet is vast, wild and full of false information. The CIA-confirmed narrative of Russian trolls' coordinated intervention in the 2016 election is just one cautionary tale of social media as the new Trojan horse. We don't just invite disinformation into our cities; we bring it into our homes.
Zuckerberg may or may not cave to mounting pressure to adopt a Twitter-like ban on political advertising. But Facebook is just one--albeit giant--platform. The real problem lies in our willingness to trust unvetted information from social media, especially when it comes to political news. As long as that's true, we are susceptible to the next platform flavor of the week--and not all will be run by companies with leaders easily hauled before Congress. Beijing-based TikTok, anybody?
Expecting Facebook or Twitter to vet information is not the answer. That's an impossible task, especially given the speed users expect answers.
But it's not all "1984" apocalyptic disinformation-age mayhem. We're here to remind you a place does exist where facts are still valued and truth still matters: The humble local newspaper. (Yes, we are tooting our own horn here.) Traditional media has its share of critics and is certainly not without fault. Critics cry bias, others dismiss paper as something from the dinosaur age. Since the advent of the internet it's had to compete for what was a captive audience.
But for those who have forgotten what newspapers do--both in print and on the internet--here's a reminder: They report the news, as accurately and as quickly as they can.
Every day, local reporters and photographers head out into the community to spend time in schools, courtrooms, businesses, government buildings and homes--all with the goal of seeing, understanding and reporting the realities of life in New Mexico. Every day, editors work to ensure stories are clear and accurate...