I have been boycotting Facebook since I heard that they were going to be censoring alternative news. Which saddens me, since I have many good friends on Facebook. I have always enjoyed the posts I get on my newsfeed, because I have liked certain, positive and uplifting sites, and have friends who post similar things. I keep getting pissed about the changes they make though, and keep threatening to go off it altogether. I was not pleased to read how they did social experiments with 750,000 users accounts a couple of years back, manipulating ads and content to cause certain emotional reactions. This is not okay with me, but I guess it’s in the user policy that we all agree to when we sign up. bleah.
Now it seems that they are going back on their original decision to not censor news. I thought…WTH is wrong with these techno giants that they are letting the EU and the MSM decide how they run their businesses? But I just read this post by the Activist Post (yup, that bastion of Russian propaganda LOL) entitled “Facebook Will Fight “Fake News” With Help From Fact Checkers Snopes And ABC News“, which makes me rethink my position.
The social network will make it easier for its users to report what they deem as “fake news” and will launch this ability to a small percentage of its users in the U.S. for testing.
Okay…they’re going to test out the idea on a small percentage of users in the US…hmmm…this doesn’t sound too bad.
“We believe in giving people a voice and that we cannot become arbiters of truth ourselves, so we’re approaching this problem carefully,” Facebook News Feed chief Adam Mosseri said in a blog post on Thursday. “We’ve focused our efforts on the worst of the worst, on the clear hoaxes spread by spammers for their own gain, and on engaging both our community and third-party organizations.”
Well, this rhetoric doesn’t sound too bad either…in both cases, they don’t really say who exactly they are targeting. I’m getting the vibe that they are indeed being careful, and will not be “cooperating” as much as the MSM and EU want. They’re only going to do the bare minimum to look like they’re complying. And although it will be ostensibly easier to flag something as “fake news”, it will still not be doing anything drastic like deleting content. Instead, they will flag it and explain why. It may even appear lower in the news feed. Hmmmm…
If the fact checking organizations identify a story as fake, it will get flagged as disputed and there will be a link to the corresponding article explaining why. Stories that have been disputed may also appear lower in News Feed.
But what really got me to thinking that this is just lip service on Facebook’s part is this statement:
It will still be possible to share these stories, but you will see a warning that the story has been disputed as you share, according to Mosseri. (see the picture header)
I’m thinking that maybe Mark Zuckerberg is not actually being a hypocrite when he firmly stated his beliefs earlier, and that despite the pressures to censor “fake news” he’s not going to willy-nilly start shutting down posts.
“There’s a profound lack of empathy in asserting that the only reason why someone could have voted the way that they did is because they saw some fake news,” Zuckerberg said last month when he was first pressed on the issue.
At the time, Zuckerberg admitted that his team studied fake news and found it was a “very small volume” of the content on Facebook.
I also checked out what that other bastion of Russian propaganda Breitbart.com had to say. In their post, they also made statements that made me think that maybe it won’t be so bad:
Stories deemed to be false will now be “flagged” by Facebook, with an accompanying red label claiming the story is “disputed by 3rd Party Fact-Checkers.”
Users will then have the option to “learn why this is disputed” to receive an explanation as to why Facebook believes the story is false.
Mossieri insists that the company will not prohibit users from posting anything deemed “fake,” but “you will see a warning that the story has been disputed as you share.”
Furthermore, Facebook will prohibit paid promotion of stories that have been marked as disputed.
I think the biggest stink everyone is putting up about this is who they are going to use as the third party fact checkers…let’s face it, Snopes.com and PolitiFact are hardly unbiased, independent fact checkers. We all know that Snopes is a mom and pop site, and hardly the end-all of be-all of authority, and PolitiFact is a left-wing partisanship site. Ah well…let us hope that Facebook Users don’t go crazy reporting everything as fake news. And that seems to be a relevant fact here…it will be the users who will flag an item as fake news. What I’d like to know is…how many people actually use that report feature? How many people actually flag something as spam or inappropriate content? And most importantly, what in the world makes Facebook think that the average user has any clue what is really fake news??? I recall reading elsewhere that Millennials do not have the discernment to determine what is fake news and what is real. sigh Maybe they won’t even bother using the feature. Maybe the small test sample will show it’s not viable. We can only hope.
Personally, I don’t think that Zuckerberg is taking it all too seriously, and is using technobabble to confuse the stupid MSM that he is actually doing what they want. Maybe I won’t have to give up Facebook after all.