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Readers trust newspapers over social media news for accuracy

‘Need to set number of rules and laws to control spread of fake news’

PARIS, July 7, (KUNA): Social media websites had significantly grown to attract large numbers of people in the past few years, affecting different aspects of daily life as well as guiding public opinion. Many people use social media to read news but when it comes to looking for accurate and 100 percent transparent news, many societies trust newspapers and traditional media sources.

In social media, people may mistaken the posted news with the comments written by other people on the news itself. Speaking to KUNA on Thursday, head of Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper’s office in Paris Michel Abu Najm said that unlike newspapers, social media websites focus on speed in posting news rather than waiting for accurate and complete information.

Social media and online media sources pose challenges for traditional newspapers to be more creative in order to attract readers, he noted. Abu Najm said that social media posts real and fake news together, adding that it is the role of traditional newspapers and media sources to reveal what’s real to the readers.

You have total freedom when it comes to posting news on social media, however, in traditional journalism there are certain rules that must be followed in dealing with news, he said. On his part, writer and journalist George Roger said that turning to social media had spread worldwide, not only in the Arab world. People tend to react to any news posted on these websites be it real or just rumors, he added. He warned against the dangers of spreading fake news on society, calling for setting a number of rules and laws to control this phenomenon. In the same context, the French parliament is discussing a controversial draft law on fake news.

The new law will allow any candidate or party to immediately turn to the law to deal with fake news three months prior to an election process. The law will also force social media websites to commit to complete transparency when posting news. The law had sparked many negative opinions in France as some fear that it would be used to limit freedom of speech online.

By Mariam Al-Zanki

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