Posted September 16, 2018 07:18:07 The ABC has revealed that the use of a “skewering” technique on social media in an attempt to “hide the biases” of an ethnic group can result in false or misleading claims.
In a new report, the broadcaster said that when it came to the use and spread of social media, it was “almost inevitable” that false claims would be made.
It revealed that in 2015, for instance, one group of people shared a photo of a woman wearing a hijab and a baby sitting on a bike while another shared a video of a Muslim woman wearing the hijab and her son on a bicycle.
“It’s almost inevitable that this kind of biased information will be shared on social networks,” the ABC reported senior media analyst Rob Cuthbertson.
“We have to be careful that we are not creating false narratives about our own communities.”
The report found that, despite the fact that “the average Australian person has a high level of trust in the media, we have been very reluctant to correct the misinformation or to challenge the biases that are shared,” he said.
“The best way to deal with misinformation and bias is to not allow it to become a part of our collective vocabulary, to make sure that we have the best possible information, to ensure that the stories are factual and the truth is told.”
While the ABC said that “it is not a matter of individual journalists or news organisations making a conscious decision to use social media for their own purposes” it noted that “media organisations are a significant contributor to the dissemination of misinformation and biased information on social platforms”.
“They are responsible for the distribution of misinformation that has been shared through social media platforms, and they need to take responsibility for ensuring that it does not spread,” Cuthberson said.
The report recommended that “all organisations that use social platforms should make clear on their platforms that any information that they publish should not be taken as fact”.
“It is important that organisations make clear that all information that is shared on any social platform is not factual, or should not form part of the content on that platform,” he added.
The ABC report comes as the Federal Government prepares to launch its own social media strategy.
The new strategy, which is due to be announced on September 17, will be focused on “developing a culture of truth and fairness”, with “the highest priority being to promote an open and transparent online platform” for political and community engagement.
It will also include “a robust and effective mechanism for reporting false information and misleading information about Australians and their communities.”