In 2004 Facebook was created as a social platform to connect between classmates, friends and acquaintances. Since then, it has developed rapidly, and today two billion people worldwide are part of Facebook network.
Going beyond its main goal, Facebook has become a means by which political news is spread and used as a way of forming public opinion and influencing people’s political thinking. Later on, Facebook has been weaponized to spread fake news and thereby, shape electoral attitudes and effect the outcome of elections. This measure was successfully used during the 2016 American presidential elections, contributing to the unexpected victory of Donald Trump.
The spreading of fake news through Facebook also reached Armenia, particularly after the Velvet Revolution. Today, the Armenian internet sites are flooded with fake pages and news items, the main purpose of which is to alienate the people from the new government and turn the history’s clock backward.
The smallest mistakes and insignificant inaccuracies by prime minister Pashinyan’s administration are presented as major scandals. Every attempt is made to persuade the people into thinking that there is not much difference between the old regime and the new authorities, simply their faces are changed but the content remains the same.
It is obvious that the people standing behind the proliferation of fake news in Armenia are the representatives of the former authorities. Lately, they have been consolidating their influence on the media by purchasing additional television channels, radio stations and online news websites. Going beyond official news outlets, the same people are widely utilizing fake news sites and social media platforms.
Unfortunately, there are large number of people who consume news through Facebook. Both in the homeland and diaspora, Armenian readers should be more attentive and must verify what they read by going to more than one source, in search of the truth.
We should all be cautious of fake Facebook news and not share them among our circle of friends.