Scoundrelism in the web

Within the so rewarding time that we spend on competing towards being the first who delivers the news around social media, we can find, with high volume and frequency, completely faked or unverified information that cause nothing but confusion and desorientation for those who want to read actual trustworthy sources and information.

The fake news spread disease, at hands of people that are also considered as “informants” just because they have free access to the web, is crashing into the value of this modern tool that serves for global communication.

Since a regimen of consequences isn’t a thing for those who habitually incur in these acts, except by the potential discredit they might earn, a good amount of users become more cautious than they should before trusting the “news” they read from that kind of sources, even from those sources that come from serious and prestigious digital media that belongs to journalistic and newspapers’ business.

The most recent example of fake news being widely spreaded was the one involving the hurricane Irma that was going to wander around the antillean and caribbean islands in Central America. Several videos were broadcasted that didn’t match the reality created by Irma.

The same happened with fake information about supposed devasting harms that never actually happened or confirmed, while we also saw altered reports with bad intentions about the official agencies dedicated to damage under emergency situations of our country.

This has caused a lot of issues to the traditional media that use the social media in the web as a referential source, they struggled to correctly filter said information, all with the purpose of disallowing confusion and inconveniently surprises amongst the fake information.

Becase between the ethic and nature of a professional journalist, we can’t fit these slips. The untruth is the deadliest sin of an authentic journalist, committed with his mission of delivering valid information after being confirmed by more than a single source.

By showing absolute respect to this golden rule is how the journalism seals in stone its high point of credibility and reliability.

The written press isn’t autonomous entity. It’s an entity that belongs to the society itself. As has Jorge Halperin said, ex-editor of the daily journal ‘Clarín’, from Argentina, the information that the press handles isn’t born by nothingness, it’s born from our society itself, it’s delivered, retaked, induced by the society, and that’s the civic responsability that it holds upon all citizens.

In the digital social media these ethic values are not prominent. There you can find scoundrelism based solely in deceiving and manipulation of the easily deceived, which would hardly happen in a traditional source that practices control of its content with the exclusive purpose of just verifying the truth.

There are journals, like the Miami Herald, in which they follow the custom where the editor, in an oral or written manner, consults the person that posted a specific piece of information, just to confirm that said person was correctly quoted.

It can be that a lot of the fault in the existence of these fake or unverified broadcasts, also lies in the rush that has been slowly fomented by the new informative cycle of the multimedia platforms, which is now forcing an aceleration of the speed of how the steps of finding validating proof of any information is executed.

In the past, daily journals used to compete in a time range of 24 hours. In the past, this amount of time seems to have been cut down significantly, to only a matter of minutes, which generates plenty of stress at the moment of applying the rigour that these steps of information confirmation deserve.

Naturally, we can’t sacrifice the quality nor the accuracy because of the haste on scoring a goal of the news just to win the match over competence.

Shall that never befall.

– Translated from Spanish by Randy Rodriguez.