Reporters Group Slams Social Media as Threat to Accurate News

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) is seeking donations to its campaign to hold tech companies to the same ethical standards as news publishers, suggesting without it the click-driven ad model is a threat to reliable and accurate news.

Currently, social media companies are not legally liable for their content, as are publishers, and generally argue they are not published, but rather platforms allowing others to publish speech.

Reddit: Ending Sec. 230 Is Existential Threat

In an e-mail solicitation, RSF said:

"[T]he advertising-driven model used by most social media platforms has created an environment where high-quality news is being drowned out by algorithms that promote divisive, click-driven content intended to increase user engagement with advertisements," RSF said. "This advertising bias has filled news feeds with inaccurate information about everything from vaccines to the Holocaust at the expense of reliable news and information.

Related: House Looks at Impact of Edge on News

"As major distributors of news and information online, these companies have an obligation to create an environment that promotes the spread of reliable and pluralistic news," RSF said.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.