As per Snapchat, it has its own internal group of reporters that momentously help it in covering the news precisely. For illustrating that through an example, Snapchat told BBC News that it had genuine UGC reports about the latest disputes in Charlottesville, which it confirmed with the resident police force before making them public.
However, the popular opponent of the company, Facebook, follows a different approach. It used to have a reporting team for picking, organizing, and presenting all the trending updates, but it parted ways with the team the previous year. And this giant establishment is now dependent on algorithms and external sources for tackling with the supposedly false news.
Facebook has a very vast audience in comparison to Snapchat. Facebook recently stated that it has around 173m active regular users, whereas, the latter one reported that it’s per month users exceeded the figure of 2b. But, a research firm is anticipating that Snapchat is going to be much more popular among the individuals in the USA this year than it is now.
Incident in Virginia
The basic reasons for which Snapchat is quite famous is because of its auto-erasing messages and AR selfie filters. However, the founder of the application seems to be quite interested in emphasizing on the means and techniques it is using for turning into an authentic news source.
Lately, a daily program is being streamed on Snapchat by the news corporation CNN, and numerous other prevalent media channels are generating the content through its discover option.
But, the content VP at the company, Mr. Nick Bell also seemed very eager to speak about the way the application had curated the footages of James Alex Fields Jr., who was the chief defendant in the case where a woman was murdered in Virginia close by a white supremacist march. He mentioned that because the videos were shot by the users of the app.
He told the BBC Radio that Snapchat has a proper news crew. There are reporters and journalists that work for Snap. They keep looking for the content and keep monitoring and assessing it as it comes in, in order to determine whether there is truth to it or not. They also evaluate if the content has any relevance and if they can add an additional perspective to it.
He further referred to some of the happenings that took place in Charlottesville and said that the company recently got snaps from the users, of the driver getting apprehended. But, before publishing those pictures and footages, the company genuinely confirmed all the details with the police for ensuring that what they are about to publish is 100% authentic and will not disappoint their regular users.
Bell said that for people’s convenience they also added a description of the incident to help them understand what actually happened. They also included the warnings about the content being explicit. He greatly emphasized on involving reporters into this whole process due to these very reasons.
Criticism on Facebook
Bell did not mention the name of the Facebook. But, the firm (Facebook) has already been confronting a lot of criticism on its practice of promoting numerous fake news stories, ever since it stopped hiring human publishers. However, the firm responded to the criticism the former year by mentioning the new procedures it had initiated for curbing the issue.
One of those procedures included a research to find out if the probability of a person sharing an article decreases once he has read it. Ever since that time, Facebook has come up with numerous additional methods to solve the problem. The latest measure the company has announced blocks all the marketers who recurrently keep sharing stories, which have been marked as bogus by the 3rd party fact checkers.
Nonetheless, is believed that the bigger and more fundamental challenge right now is to clarify these procedures to the common public in comparison to the Snapchat’s capability of boasting about its internal reporters. BBC Radio also enquired Mr. Bell if he believes that Snapchat could become an inspiration for people to perpetrate violence.
To which he responded that their company doesn’t take these things lightly and they have no forbearance for extremism. Fundamentally, the program has been designed to let the users connect and converse with their best friends. And it is not that easy for a user to grow his following to an enormous extent.
He added that the situation these days is quite difficult in real life too as there is always a possibility for a person to be approached by some extremist preacher, so it’s not that easy for anyone to safeguard everyone all the time. But, since the app doesn’t let any person grow his network insanely, it gets much difficult for such fanatics to surface and build a massive following as compared to the other programs.