1. Do you think bloggers should disclose when they receive free products from companies?
I’m pretty sure that this is mandatory, so yes they should. On top of that, it makes it more truthful to know that someone received an item and did not purchase it on their own. For example, I used to follow a lot of nail art blogs during my high school days. Sometimes well known bloggers would get sent new polishes from OPI, Essie and so on either for the purpose of reviewing, or with the expectation that they would write about the polish in some way. Of course these are good brands to begin with, but if someone is providing you with a product for free, I would assume you would be more likely to write well about it, which may not be what you really would feel had you paid 8 dollars for it like everyone else.
2. Do you think bloggers should be held accountable for fact-checking the same way that journalists do?
I’m on the fence about this one. Morally, you shouldn’t want to perpetuate lies, and you definitely wouldn’t want to be sued for defamation. Writing things about other people or companies should definitely have at least one real source to back up your claim, just for your own sake. But if it is as simple as saying the date that something happened, I don’t know if that’s so important to need to be fact checked. If someone reads it and thinks it is wrong, they can just Google search it on their own and you know what? If it is wrong… in the grand scheme of life writing 2002 on your blog when it was really 2003 is not a huge deal. I understand in newspapers people can lose their jobs over missing mistakes like that but on a personal blog it is much more informal and you are basically your own boss. Small facts, I’d let go. But I would definitely get a source on larger more important things.
In my opinion, the definition of social media is a platform where people can write about anything freely. People have a lot of freedom based on whether or not they want to see things and who they want to follow. However, the potential to actually see everything is possible. Think about Facebook, people can connect with friends and see anything that is posted from a newsfeed. However, it is only with people you are “friends” with. In order to see anything else you must have permission from the other person. It is this that separates it from a blog. With a blog, your posts and information are accessible to anyone and you might not even know that person is following you. I think this small point is the thing that separates blogs from official social media.