Friday, December 16, 2016

Facebook’s Plan to Fight Fake News

“We have a responsibility to reduce the spread of fake news on our platform,” Adam Mosseri, Facebook vice president of product development, told The Washington Post on Thursday.

Facebook is putting in a system for reporting potential fake news stories. Some of those stories will be checked out by Snopes, PolitiFact, and other fine organizations. If a story is fake, it will be labeled as such. So, essentially, there will be warning labels on fake news stories. It appears to be a step in the right direction but there are some serious questions that will need to be addressed.
Who will determine which stories to check out and on what basis? Like news organizations and police departments, fact-checkers have limited resources. It won’t be possible to check out each and every lead. There will be some picking and choosing. Like most people, fact-checkers have biases. Will political leanings enter into the selection mix? That’s probably inevitable.
How will Facebook label various types of fake news? Satire, hoax news, and deliberate disinformation are three very different things. If I write a piece of satire, which I do from time to time, and label it as such, could my work still be labeled as fake news?
Newsflash: Fake news is here to stay.  It makes lots of money for the people who produce it and for the advertisers who get customers from it  Furthermore, readers and viewers love fake news. Fake news caters to people’s biases and beliefs. Some of it is also very entertaining. Many prefer it to real news. That’s why people consume so much of it. Facebook’s plan is an early step in a complicated endeavor. It will obviously have to be tweaked frequently.

"Facebook has long insisted that it is neutral about content, and earlier this year it denied reports that the platform censored conservative news. That’s looking less credible." Wall Street Journal, Facebook’s Fake Fix for Fake News

Fake News Highlights of the Week
Has Santa been naughty? One Santa’s heartbreaking story about a little boy dying in his arms could not be verified. After the story caught on in the media and went viral, nobody could be found to confirm the claim.  It seems like someone somewhere would know if it really happened.  
Bottom line: It’s usually not a good idea to lie to the media or to the police.

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