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News Report Page 8 of 15
Publication Date:-
2018-11-10
News reports located on this page = 1.

The Social Media and the Impact
Report by Laura Wright.

MANY news outlets have recognised the potential of social media as a journalistic tool and have used this to their advantage to attract a larger scale online audience. This rise in social media use, has also led to concerns within the media of how credible stories are that are being shared to the public. From a press regulatory point of view should the media being doing more to control the flow of news online or will this be detrimental to an era of free speech.

Press regulation is the control or guidance of mass media; this generally covers TV, radio, print and online and within is an optional process in which media outlets can choose whether they wish to subscribe to a press regulatory agency.

However, since the News of the World phone hacking scandal which led to the leveson inquiry which was set up back in 2011 there has been debate of how we should be regulating the press.

Ed Procter, Chief Managing Operator of IMPRESS said:- "IMPRESS strongly believes in a system of self regulation, but we believe that in order for the system of self-regulation to work there needs to be incentives, you need to give newspapers the commercial incentive to be regulated."

Therefore should there be a framework in place to give news outlets a reason to abide by the rules instead of full regulatory control, will the threat of being fined or losing advertising and consumerism persuade media outlets globally to follow self regulatory standards?

Some of the regulators in the UK include IMPRESS; who work with news outlets who subscribe to build public trust and protects their freedom to publish, IPSO; which is an independent regulator for the newspaper and magazine industry in the UK and Ofcom; which is the UK's most well-known regulator for broadcasting and telecommunications. Although there are regulators for these strands of media, there doesn't seem to be any regulators for the news output on social media.

Ed Procter said:- "At the moment there is no regulation of the social media platform in the UK, so Facebook, Google, Snapchat, YouTube, they are not regulated at the moment and that is a big issue for political debate at the moment, but as far as print and online media in the UK we have a system of self-regulation which means it is up to individual newspapers or online news providers as to whether or not they wish to be regulated."

It can be argued that social media outlets such as:- Facebook, Google, Twitter and Youtube, have a system of self regulating. Facebook is a prime example of this as on their website's terms and conditions they state:- 'We know that you don't want to see false news, and we don't want it on Facebook either.'  Just like the established press regulators, they claim to have third party fact checkers who can deal with the issue. Therefore, is it a good thing that the companies themselves are acknowledging that this is a problem that should not be ignored?

However, is there any real way of tackling 'fake news' on a broader spectrum? When delving deeper into the terms and conditions the ways in which they advise users to deal with the problem is through solutions such as:- 'marking a story false' or to 'un-follow a person or a page.' Is this there way of ignoring the issue or is it the only way to control the output of false news by not acknowledging its presence.

It can also be argued that social media outlets such as Facebook and Twitter, aren't actually news sites and even they will state this themselves, as Ed Procter said:- "Are social media platforms publishers? They will say they don't publish news, that they are platforms and other critics will also say no they aren't publishers of the news because they have alga rhythms."

'Fake News' is seen to be the dissemination of false fact or information through the mass media to the general public. The issue surrounding the topic, is the simple question of how can it be decided what is and isn't 'fake news?' Do press regulatory systems have a duty within the modern media to address a code of conduct for this type of output and how can it stand with the code of conduct regulated journalists already have to abide by?

Press regulators such as IPSO have already tried to tackle the issue amongst the news outlets that are subscribed to their agency by introducing the 'IPSO mark.' This was launched in December 2017 to make readers of their publications aware that they have to follow the standards set out in the Editor's code of Practice. With the regulator stating:- 'Its new advert was designed to make the point that fake news is not welcome' wherever readers see the mark, and emphasises that IPSO regulated publications are:- "committed to high standards and accurate reporting." Therefore, is it really fair to say that press regulators need to do more or is it the audience who need to be educated on the codes of conduct, as well as the journalists?

IMPRESS also have a similar stance on the way in which their subscribers publish news, and how they investigate issues of false reporting, as Ed Procter, Chief Managing Operator of IMPRESS said:- "We can investigate the issue, and we can require news publishers to issue corrections, to make apologies, front page corrections, home pages of websites and we can also direct that corrections can be made through social media feeds as well."

Even when it comes to the educating future journalists, is it fair to say they are really in the know about how the modern media is regulated? As many University's only teach their student's about 2 of the main regulators Ofcom and IPSO, but often fail to mention IMPRESS. Is the system outdated or is the industry more biased towards certain regulators compared to others, do courses use out of date up-to-date information, due to educational establishments being slow to adapt teaching material in time with the fast changing world, outside academia?

Another interpretation can be that it is in fact the audience's demand for on the spot news that has caused the rise in 'fake news.' As the pressure to tell a story as soon as it has happened is becoming increasingly obvious within the news media. An example of this can be through media organisations such as the BBC posting to their websites and sharing content on social media as soon as there is breaking news on a particular event, actions such as these can sometimes ultimately lead to news organisations:- 'getting it wrong' which means is it fair to say that even credible news sources are 100% accurate?

Ultimately is it the rise in social media that is the problem or is it the different ways people are educated to see fact and news that is the real problem.

Play the full audio interview...


Run time = 31.03min

Play the full audio interview of Ed Procter, Chief Managing Operator of IMPRESS by clicking on above. Also please do tell us what do you think about the questions raised within the interview?  Please email your thoughts and views to:- News24@SouthportReporter.Com as we would love to hear them...

 
      
 
   
 
 
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