Coinciding with a continued rise in public cynicism and a legitimate mistrust of mainstream media beholden to systems of power that are discredited, it seems most people turn to social media networks to get their news now. But this seemingly doesn't fix the problem. Rather than a "democratisation" of the media and/or a mass reclamation of investigative journalism (as technology pundits continuously purport), there's arguably been the opposite.
Now, with the convergence of closed social media networks that are beholden to nefarious algorithms such as The Filter Bubble and the personalisation of information, as an article in the Guardian explains, "Social media has swallowed the news – threatening the funding of public-interest reporting and ushering in an era when everyone has their own facts. But the consequences go far beyond journalism."
It's like the well-oiled tactics of the tobacco industry that have since permeated pretty much all industries---confuse the hell out of people so they don't know what's true anymore. It's a popular PR tactic honed over decades for social control and manipulation of democracy, and it's that element that exists and is especially reinforced online (particularly in real time), in the giant echo chamber of corporate social media networks, where the user is constantly subjected to streams and streams of information about current events---most devoid of context, analysis, or even significant depth in the time and space of a tweet.
The grounding that gives rise to physical reality and epistemological truths goes missing when we're tied to screens that simply reflect our projections.
In the words of Sherry Turkle, the issues facing our planet right now cannot be solved in the time-space of texting/tweeting. So if the way we understand, perceive and relate to the world through the prism of media (mainstream media and social media alike) is in decline, it should tell us volumes about the state of democracy...
Global Voices' adds: "The need for fact-checking hasn't gone away. As new technologies have spawned new forms of media which lend themselves to the spread of various kinds of disinformation, this need has in fact grown. Much of the information that's spread online, even by news outlets, is not checked, as outlets simply copy-paste -- or in some instances, plagiarise -- "click-worthy" content generated by others. Politicians, especially populists prone to manipulative tactics, have embraced this new media environment by making alliances with tabloid tycoons or by becoming media owners themselves.
UPDATE 29/7 -- Example, of sorts. "#SaveMarinaJoyce conspiracy theories about British YouTuber go viral." News reporting social media rumours, facts from source ignite disbelief and cynicism, confirmation bias at work, etc.