Battle of Social Networks | DocFilm | DW | 13.01.2020
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Battle of Social Networks

Social networks have become battlefields for truth and power. They provide their users with great freedom. But they are also being utilized to manipulate people, and sway public opinion by means of "fake news."

Watch video 42:36

Five billion people currently own a mobile phone. More than half of those are smartphones. Millions of texts, images and videos circulate daily through social networks. Their reach is global, from dictatorships to the most consolidated democracies. Social networks are a great tool for civic engagement and social exchange. But it has become increasingly difficult to distinguish between real and false content. A battle to take control of the truth has begun. Taking the example of Catalan’s unauthorized 2017 independence referendum, this documentary analyzes the impact social networks are having on our lives. It explores whether the platforms have become a threat to democracy and to electoral systems, and asks whether they have become the new mass media. It seems that governments now fear the freedom of speech they once fought to establish - because this very "freedom" has facilitated the spread of "fake news," and is jeopardizing global stability. Some analysts predict that by 2022, half of online content will be "false.” How can professional press organizations distinguish real from false content? And how are citizens handling fake news? Can they detect it? Or are they spreading it?