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Media manipulation 2.0: the impact of social media on news, competition, and accuracy

Faculty Advisor




accuracy, fake news, manipulation, media, social media

Abstract (summary)

The term "media manipulation" has a double meaning. It is certainly possible to have a biased media outlet/organization manipulate the news and intentionally, or unintentionally, mislead the public but it can also be said that in this era of social media, the media itself can be manipulated and misled by individuals and organizations. Increasingly, there are examples of false information, retouched photographs, or edited video being released on social media. In many cases, this information goes "viral" in just days, even hours. When this happens, the competitive nature of journalism can lead to reporters and/or their supervisors feeling pressured to report it as news as soon as possible without first verifying its authenticity. The sophistication of social media platforms and their users means the speed at which information is disseminated has increased dramatically and continues to accelerate with the addition of new social media forms. I believe the accuracy of news is, at times, directly proportional to the speed with which the information spreads. My study examines primary and secondary research into this "double-edged sword" of media manipulation both from the perspective of the public and its concerns and from the perspective of journalists and their concerns about the significant impact on their profession of social media overall, and the manipulative exploitation of social media in particular. Based on an analysis of news articles, scholarly research, and social media content, I will advance recommendations for media researchers and scholars seeking to understand these issues and for journalists and news organization managers seeking to navigate them even as their embattled profession continues to evolve.

Publication Information

Fitzpatrick, Neill. "Media Manipulation 2.0: The Impact of Social Media on News, Competition, and Accuracy." Athens Journal of Mass Media and Communications, vol. 4, no. 1, 2018, pp. 45-62. doi:10.30958/ajmmc.4.1.3.


Item Type





Attribution-NonCommercial (CC BY-NC)