How can Alternative Media Compete in the Age of Fake News?

Competing with Fake News

Social media is really a victim of its own success. When social media first started, it was very easy for people to push New York Times articles to others in their circle of concern. After all, if you trust somebody and you respect that person, you probably will sit up and pay attention when they share a piece of news that they think is important enough to share with their friends.
You can then have a lively debate with them. You can agree with them. Whatever it is that you do, there is a communication based on the level of concern. You learn more about their values, priorities and character based on the stuff that they care to share on their Facebook timeline.
It doesn’t take long for somebody to abuse or exploit this transparence of trust. What people would do is they would create news headlines that are exaggerated. They would blow up one kernel of truth to make it look monstrously huge and grotesquely exaggerated, and this gets a lot of eyeballs.
What happens then is this sharing phenomenon where people lend a tremendous amount of their personal credibility and authority to the stuff that they’re sharing on their timeline goes on steroids thanks to these crazy headlines.
Now, keep in mind that at this point people are still sharing the truth. These true stories may have overly emotional headlines, but they still contain enough kernels of truth. Now, on Facebook, there are stuff being shared that is flat-out false. If you don’t believe me, just look up the stories that they share about President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines or Donald Trump of the United States. There’s like an 80/20 split in terms of just flat-out lies and truths. That’s where we are currently with social media platforms.
Now, I want you to view the whole question of alternative media’s fitness with social media from this perspective. The great thing about alternative media is that there are strict editorial controls. For example, if you are trying to reach the LGBTQQ community, you know you’re going to have to jump through hoops and hurdles to speak to people’s values and experiences. Most importantly, there are going to be editors that are going to valiantly guard those interests because they are part of the community.
You don’t have that in the age of fake news because if you’re just sharing random stories that seem shocking or revolting to you, chances are they were done for a reason. They were produced intentionally because the people behind them are making money from ad clicks.
They couldn’t care less about Donald Trump. They couldn’t care less about cancer or diabetes. All they care about is whether people exposed to these headlines would click the share button. That’s the bottom line to them.
This is why alternative media at this level, which is all about credibility and authority, blows away social media.