Buzzfeed’s Silverman On The Threat of Social Media Regulation

Last November, we sat down with leading voices in media to discuss the issue of social media regulation surrounding advertising and  so-called fake news distributed on social networks.  Our conversation with Buzzfeed’s Craig Silverman is the second part in our series. Watch part one with David Axelrod here.  

Regulators and the U.S. Congress are taking a more active role in scrutinizing Facebook and other social media platforms, but Silverman doesn’t believe regulation will necessarily follow.

“It’s a pretty complex media environment and, of course, there are risks of censorship,” he told us in late 2017.  He does believe that the scrutiny will have an impact, however.

“I do think that just the threat of regulation has been quite effective. Just the fact that they are making these platforms disclose information, making them come and testify. None of these companies want to be regulated. They will start to institute programs to try to get rid of false information. They will institute programs to make election ads more transparent.”

In his role as Buzzfeed’s media editor, Silverman has established himself as the go-to journalist covering the spread of false information, and the role social media networks play. He is even credited with coining the term “fake news.” His outlook for social network self-policing has proved prescient. Facebook recently announced they are changing requirements for placing political ads. Several social networks have also backed legislation that would create more transparency around political social ads.

These measures may help, but Silverman adds that social media users also play an important role in stopping the spread of false information.

“We all have more responsibility to judge and evaluate the information we’re getting than ever before.  We should start to exercise our power and be careful about what we’re putting out there and what we react to on these platforms.”

Watch his full remarks on social media regulation and fake news above.

Evan Peterson is director of corporate marketing at CME Group and managing editor of OpenMarkets.

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