Facebook turns 20 today, BTA reports.

In 2021, the American company "Facebook" changed its name to "Meta", and part of it are Instagram, Messenger and other platforms.

In addition to communication, Facebook today is also used as a source of information.

In the middle of

The Reuters Institute for Journalism Research published a report according to which 76% of surveyed Bulgarians indicated online sources, including social media, as the main source of news, 63% used television and only 12% - print media.

Among social media, Facebook is the most popular, with 64% of our compatriots surveyed using it for news, and 77% - "on a general basis".

Meta will encrypt end-to-end messages on Facebook and Instagram

With the advent of Facebook and social networks, the very paradigm of the communication process has changed, Prof. Lilia Raycheva - a lecturer at the Faculty of Journalism and Mass Communications at Sofia University "St. Kliment Ohridski" told BTA.

One reason is that consumers are also becoming content producers.

This was predicted as early as 1980 in the "Third Wave" of researcher Alvin Toffler.

He introduced the concept of "consumer" - combining consumer and producer of news.

And the timeliness of Facebook messages is extremely important.

It gives rise to competition for the attention of users between social networks and traditional media, comments Prof. Rajcheva.

The development of social networks and especially Facebook has paid a lot of attention to everyone's life and the way we use information, commented Ivan Radev from the Association of European Journalists in Bulgaria (AEJ-Bulgaria) for BTA.

He pointed out that information is personalized to our preferences, algorithms sort it, and it comes to us and shapes the views of much of society.

Facebook and its impact on journalism 

The original goal was to connect with each other more easily, Radev pointed out.

The next one is to democratize communication on the Internet, but because of their model, the effect of this democratization is quite ambiguous.

They have displaced a large part of journalism, he said, adding that it has mostly affected the print media.

Instead of receiving information that has passed through the filter of professional journalists, it has come to the point that much of the information we receive from social networks according to their algorithms, which select what to show us and what to hide.

These algorithms are set up so that we keep our attention as much as possible in the social network, comments Ivan Radev.

There are problems related mostly to the responsibility of those who share content, Prof. Raicheva said.

With the emergence of inaccurate and unverified data, quickly filling the information vacuum, public opinion is formed, which may often not correspond to reality, and this is detrimental to journalism and creates major challenges to the observance of professional standards.

Thus, social networks help spread misinformation, which is counterproductive to democratic societies, she explained.

According to Prof. Raicheva, information travels faster through Facebook, but it must be verified and anyone who respects the journalistic profession would expect an official and verified message.

The new European law on freedom of the media offers a general framework for the protection of the editorial independence of the media in the European Union, pluralism, the quality of journalistic content and, very importantly, the transparency of media ownership, she added.

Social networks have influenced the radicalization of societies, believes Ivan Radev.

Each of the major social networks has "credit" for the flourishing of misinformation.

They were too late to react against her.

Measures are currently being taken to combat disinformation.

Social networks have realized the negative effects of becoming such a global leader, but they are still in the position of being indebted to society and the journalism they displaced, he commented.

According to him, whenever we talk about combating disinformation, we must take into account the balance and not allowing censorship.

There are efforts that can be made and are effective in combating misinformation.

How much and to what extent depends on the will of social networks and public pressure on these platforms, explained Radev.

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