The world’s largest social media platform, Facebook, is now implementing the option to subscribe to your favorite news sources through their website. Currently, 10 publishers have signed on, including household names like The Washington Post and The Economist. The mobile app will give the option for access to a limited amount of articles per month with a subscription.

Now, why would Facebook decide to offer such a thing?

Facebook’s image has seemed to have gone down since the 2016 U.S. presidential election. The site became a target during this time for spreading “fake news.” Facebook’s lack of guidelines for news stories allows parody and satirical news sites to post easily on their platform.

Along with fake news, sites like publish articles that sometimes have misleading headlines such as, “The Pope endorses Trump,”  “Hillary Clinton bought $137 million in illegal arms” and “The Clintons bought a $200 million house in the Maldives.” Snopes is actually a publication that fact checks common pop culture myths, so the headlines sometimes can give a wrong impression without opening the article. This can lead to people sharing without reading the article, thinking it means one thing but is actually the opposite. 

The spreading of lies about opposing candidates has always been a part of political campaigns. Information in the 20th century about candidates mainly came from newspapers, television and radio advertisements, and debates. In 2016 however, this was the first presidential election where the Internet may have played a hand in swaying voters. The Internet allows for a new kind of propaganda, a new beast of misinformation not formerly experienced.

An analysis from Buzzfeed News found that 38 percent of posts shared from three large rightwing politics pages on Facebook included “false or misleading information” and that three large leftwing pages did the same 19 percent of the time.

Even President Donald Trump has accused the website of spreading fake news. Donald Trump on September 22, 2017, tweeted out harsh remarks blaming Facebook for being biased against him.


Mark Zuckerberg later responded to President Donald Trump in a post to his Facebook page.


I want to respond to President Trump's tweet this morning claiming Facebook has always been against him.Every day I…

Posted by Mark Zuckerberg on Wednesday, September 27, 2017


When you browse the web, websites use algorithms to customise products or news articles that might pertain to your interests. Misinformation is a common theme on the Internet, which makes it hard to decipher fact from fiction.

News subscriptions through Facebook seem appealing, but there are some concerns. CNBC reports that publishers will have access to who subscribes, but will not be able to see who is reading the free articles. Collecting data is crucial because it shows what age groups are reading a publication and a newspaper can use that data to see how the newspaper should be marketed going forward.

Executives have come out to say that they are still not on board with Facebook’s plan.

“Ten free articles is quite a lot. It’s more about the data and around remaining in control of our membership strategy,” an anonymous executive with The Wall Street Journal Dow Jones told Reuters.

The introduction of Facebook and subscriptions could be a big step in the right direction for the site. It could help reestablish credibility and lower the amount of fake news that circulates on Facebook.


Featured image via Pixabay

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