The proliferation of fake news on social media networks has increased the value of trusted brands, the editor of The Telegraph has said this week.
Speaking in a keynote address to the Society of Editors conference in Cambridge, Chris Evans said that the mistrust of certain material posted on platforms such as Facebook and Twitter was an opportunity that could work to the advantage of traditional media outlets.
He said: “I think it’s great for our trade that there is renewed doubt about things people see out there on social media. It could serve to our advantage.”
Evans, Editor of The Telegraph since 2014, warned that the phrase was also being used as a means to discredit information that people do not like.
He said: “Armies of social media users on both sides of the political divide seek to silence legitimate debate and to denounce real news as fake. We are losing the ability to disagree without hating. Unfashionable or challenging opinions are condemned with such ferocity that voicing them can require bravery.”
Evans went on to say that the digital revolution and rise in new technologies presented many opportunities for journalists in the same way that advances in technology allowed the Telegraph to process data with regard to MPs expenses.
He said: “Our stories about MPs’ expenses could not have happened unless the technology existed to condense all that [data]… real news was the beneficiary of advancements in technology.”
“We are recovering our confidence because we are learning to see technology not as a problem but an opportunity. We have spent ten years blaming the likes of Facebook and Google for taking the advertising money which used to pay for our journalism – and indeed they have… but if we spent ten years lamenting the loss of revenue we have also spent ten years forgetting what we are good at.
Watch Chris Evans’ address at the conference here