Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 30th Nov 2016 20:57 UTC
Internet & Networking

Walt Mossberg:

So, yes, in my view, Facebook has a direct responsibility to get rid of fake news, and it cannot simply rely on its audience or others to shoulder the burden. I'm happy to see tools made available to readers that help report such trash, and happy that Facebook is working with third-party fact checkers. But the ultimate responsibility is Facebook’s.

Nobody wants Facebook to tinker with legitimate news and opinion - again, except for hate speech. But getting rid of purely fake news from purely fake sources is an eminently achievable task, especially for a well-funded, tech-savvy, huge media company serving nearly 2 billion people.

I've written about my thoughts on this subject before, but I want to make them clearer by presenting you with an example.

Consider this clip from Fox News' Bill O'Reilly.

Everything in this clip is not true. Everything said in that clip about Amsterdam and The Netherlands is literally - literally literally, not the fake kind of literally - made up. It's all lies. Flat-out, bold-faced lies. This is clearly, unapologetically, fake news.

Yet, I doubt people like Mossberg and other people who claim it's easy as pie for Facebook and Twitter to 'block' fake news would agree with me that Facebook should block this kind of news from their sites. Even though it's nothing but flat-out lies, it would not be considered 'fake news'.

And therein lies the problem with this whole outrage over 'fake news'. No matter how many times people say it's easy to separate real news from fake news, there's going to be so many edge cases to trip up generic algorithms, and it's simply not feasible to have human curation on sites as large in volume as Facebook and Twitter.

Is it really Facebook's job to solve for people's stupidity? In my view, it really isn't. On top of that, I somehow doubt the tech media would be as worked up over this as they are now had Clinton won the election - and all of you know my political leanings well enough by now to understand the value of me saying this.

Order by: Score:
Fake News video
by Kancept on Wed 30th Nov 2016 21:49 UTC
Kancept
Member since:
2006-01-09

I commented to my friends about this on Facebook. I don't go to Facebook to get my news, nor do I go there for the truth.

Reply Score: 4

RE: Fake News video
by judgen on Wed 30th Nov 2016 23:51 UTC in reply to "Fake News video"
judgen Member since:
2006-07-12

I go to "the onion" for my news. Much more reliable than MSNBC at least.

Reply Score: 6

I agree completely, but...
by CaptainN- on Wed 30th Nov 2016 22:10 UTC
CaptainN-
Member since:
2005-07-07

It's a minor "but" - in the 2016 US presidential election, from what Ive seen one side shared and propagated FAR more fake news than the other. Both sides shared a lot of opinion peices, but the Clinton side shared far more satire - stuff that was clearly not real news, while the right shared fire brand nonsense made up of pure lies.

The reason I agree here, is because the fake news is just the latest in a long list of wrong lessons the neolibs and the Clinton left have learned from the election (my leanings are progressive, so you know where I stand). Clinton's campaign was almost entirely built on identity politics, with almost no issues raised, and even when they were, they were just wedge - aka identity - issues. Trump on the other hand, while he did run some identity politics (focused on classic right wing white supremacy), also ran on actual economic issues. Even though his proposals were either stupid, or mostly vapor, he did at least address the pain people are feeling, and did so effectively - that's what got him elected.

And the GOP (Trump defeated 16 GOP candidates, and 1 Democrat) and the DNC are learning all the wrong lessons.

Reply Score: 2

RE: I agree completely, but...
by judgen on Wed 30th Nov 2016 23:53 UTC in reply to "I agree completely, but..."
judgen Member since:
2006-07-12

I wouldn't call branding 50% of the population as misogynists, racists, bigots, *whatever*phobic over and over again as "satire", or "haha trump is stupid", "he can never win *whatever he was up to next*" satire either.

Reply Score: 6

RE[2]: I agree completely, but...
by kwan_e on Thu 1st Dec 2016 00:37 UTC in reply to "RE: I agree completely, but..."
kwan_e Member since:
2007-02-18

They certainly don't have a problem with people fitting those descriptions being appointed to high positions.

Reply Score: 4

RE: I agree completely, but...
by ConceptJunkie on Fri 2nd Dec 2016 17:58 UTC in reply to "I agree completely, but..."
ConceptJunkie Member since:
2012-05-18

I think your observations are spot on, but the "satire" that you pin on the liberal media was taken as literal by a huge number of people. Trump was painted as a comic book super-villain by the media and we've seen the complete meltdown in far too many supposed adults when he won the election. Are there things you should be concerned or even scared about Trump? Definitely. Is he the next Hitler? Don't be ridiculous.

"Fake news" is so pervasive that two different people can have completely contradictory views about almost everything about our society and culture and never realize how strong the contradiction is. Worse than fake news is the bubbles of unreality and confirmation bias that so many people have built around themselves, and I will admit to doing that somewhat because I am so sick of being endlessly attacked and insulted.

Reply Score: 1

Hey Thom ...
by WorknMan on Wed 30th Nov 2016 22:32 UTC
WorknMan
Member since:
2005-11-13

I heard from another source that they were shutting down the pot shops and prostitution in Amsterdam. Is that not the case?

Reply Score: 2

RE: Hey Thom ...
by Thom_Holwerda on Wed 30th Nov 2016 22:58 UTC in reply to "Hey Thom ..."
Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

I heard from another source that they were shutting down the pot shops and prostitution in Amsterdam. Is that not the case?


You heard wrong. In fact, we're most likely going to expand our marijuana policies, to make it similar to e.g. Colorado's. As far as prostitution goes - it's still legal, and in case you're interested - the Red Light District in Amsterdam is still there for your perusal.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Hey Thom ...
by Kochise on Thu 1st Dec 2016 10:16 UTC in reply to "RE: Hey Thom ..."
Kochise Member since:
2006-03-03

I would call these "social pressure safety valve" of public interest and should be state sponsored with brothels ensuring cleanliness, security and health insurance for workers there.

Instead than this paranoid clandestinity into which they are forced to be exploited.

But that's another battle.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Hey Thom ...
by looncraz on Thu 1st Dec 2016 16:27 UTC in reply to "RE: Hey Thom ..."
looncraz Member since:
2005-07-24

No, he heard exactly right. It's just the "window" brothels.

Bill Oreilly, akin to most journalists, likes to take small actions and draw a larger pattern from them.

This doesn't qualify as fake news - it's a different view point based on the facts.

And that is the danger of someone - anyone - determining what is true news and what is fake news.

NO ONE can be trusted to make that decision.

Edited 2016-12-01 16:27 UTC

Reply Score: 1

Agreed, let the users fact-check
by tomz on Wed 30th Nov 2016 22:34 UTC
tomz
Member since:
2010-05-06

"FakeNews" is news the old media disagrees with. If something is wrong, Facebook and Twitter USERS will quickly swarm and point out the errors - on any side.

Right now they seem to lack any shame for propagating or failing to check things in the first place.

The worst one is Google - because if a news story is wrong, and there is a page debunking it, it is likely to drop the rank of the debunking site even if it is correct if it isn't one of their "blessed" outlets.

On any objective basis, CNN and FoxNews should be considered "Fake News" as much if not more than Breitbart or Infowars.

But that is not how it will work.

Don't introduce personal political biases into algorithms. They are already bad enough (that I clear cookies and go anonymously so it doesn't try to be "helpful", no I don't want my biases confirmed, I want to see flat results).

Reply Score: 5

CaptainN- Member since:
2005-07-07

If something is wrong, Facebook and Twitter USERS will quickly swarm and point out the errors - on any side.

That's ridiculous. The post-truth world indeed...

Edited 2016-11-30 23:38 UTC

Reply Score: 3

Licaon_Kter Member since:
2010-03-19

If something is wrong, Facebook and Twitter USERS will quickly swarm and point out the errors - on any side.

Yes yes, that what the like and share buttons are for, right?

Reply Score: 3

Wondercool
Member since:
2005-07-08

As much as I hate fake news, I don't really want media companies like Facebook in control of what is published or not. Giving the distributors of 'news' - or maybe more aptly said propaganda, the power to control what can be transmitted at will, would set a dangerous precedent and could easily lead to control in the wrong hands.

I rather much would like to tryout some crowdsourced solution where people have moderating votes to flag articles up and down.

Though I have to admit, some sort of human editorial department that would do some basic fact checking before it goes into the News channel would be something Facebook could do. Maybe better tagging and putting it in the right channel would work

But I wouldn't like it when some algorithm decides my post is incorrect and filtered out.

Reply Score: 3

Comment by alec
by alec on Wed 30th Nov 2016 23:07 UTC
alec
Member since:
2005-09-23

During my soviet childhood, there were special radio-jamming towers in my city, to suppress all the fake news. The local newspapers published only the true, verified news. There was a well known fact-checking organization dedicated to that.

Now, that we have internet, the jamming methods have to adjust with the times.

Reply Score: 6

RE: Comment by alec
by judgen on Sat 3rd Dec 2016 02:16 UTC in reply to "Comment by alec"
judgen Member since:
2006-07-12

Yes because news was always reliable in the eastern bloc =D

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zt_RSqgGaFQ

Just as reliable as North Korean news sometimes;

http://www.shortlist.com/news/craziest-north-korean-news-coverage

Reply Score: 2

Fake News is a lie
by Milo_Hoffman on Wed 30th Nov 2016 23:33 UTC
Milo_Hoffman
Member since:
2005-07-06

Anyone who does not see the truth that the whole "fake news" controversy is an attempt by the irreverent dinosaur media to control the news and get back their status as the gatekeepers of information to the unwashed masses, you are clueless.


The whole thing is a desperate move by the establishment to put a genie back in the bottle.

http://reason.com/archives/2016/11/23/the-fake-epidemic-of-fake-new...

I don't want ANYONE having the power over me to control what they think is or is not fake news.

Edited 2016-11-30 23:37 UTC

Reply Score: 9

RE: Fake News is a lie
by ConceptJunkie on Fri 2nd Dec 2016 17:54 UTC in reply to "Fake News is a lie"
ConceptJunkie Member since:
2012-05-18

You're right. "Fake news" is a real problem, but the biggest purveyors of fake news is often the mainstream media themselves.

Given that there were news anchors and reporters literally crying on the evening of the election (OK, maybe 'literally' is fake news, but there is no doubt that a lot of them were clearly shocked and disappointed) shows how bad the bias is, and where there's bias there's fake news, period.

People also seem to forget that the MSM, including Fox, did everything they could to swing the GOP nomination to Trump in the first place, mostly because they thought he'd be the easiest person to beat.

The media's illicit effect on this election has been as bad as its ever been, and it was in 2004 that the editor of Newsweek, a major MSM player back then, admitted that media slant accounted for a 15% swing in the voting, and that was 12 years ago, the slant, bias and downright lying has only become much worse and much more brazen.

And as numerous commenters have mentioned, I don't expect the Republican or Democrat parties (or the MSM, for that matter) to learn the lessons that 2016 teaches us, nor do anything to make the situation better. Everyone seems to be adamant about doubling down on what they've always been doing, thinking they must not be doing the wrong thing hard enough, as opposed to trying to find the right thing to do.

Reply Score: 1

Fake News
by Alfman on Thu 1st Dec 2016 01:14 UTC
Alfman
Member since:
2011-01-28

Thom Holwerda,

Is it really Facebook's job to solve for people's stupidity? In my view, it really isn't.


I still feel your answer falls short of addressing a crucial question of profit motive brought up by the prior article.

http://www.osnews.com/thread?637471

It would be one thing if the sites merely let fake news spread on it's own with people actively searching for it and leaving people to their own vices. However when sites like FB have been materially involved in the promotion of fake news due to their own profit motives that positioned fake news above any real news, is that a problem in your opinion or not?


On top of that, I somehow doubt the tech media would be as worked up over this as they are now had Clinton won the election - and all of you know my political leanings well enough by now to understand the value of me saying this.


I think you are right because Trump had very high unfavorable ratings among the educated (and I don't think it's unfair to associate the tech sector with higher education).

http://fivethirtyeight.com/features/education-not-income-predicted-...

Obviously, had the election gone the other way, there would be just as much rioting, maybe even more. The biggest difference is that Trump himself would be leading the call to pitchforks. He is sour now and he won, I can only imagine if he lost.

Edited 2016-12-01 01:15 UTC

Reply Score: 5

RE: Fake News
by ConceptJunkie on Fri 2nd Dec 2016 18:10 UTC in reply to "Fake News"
ConceptJunkie Member since:
2012-05-18


Obviously, had the election gone the other way, there would be just as much rioting, maybe even more.


Yes, because right-wingers riot all the time. Seriously, when has there been any kind of riot like you describe in the past couple generations?

Yes, Trump commands a cult of personality such that he could have incited such a reaction (much like Obama has constantly done, and for the same reasons, in the past 8 years), but the truth is that there is really only one side of the political divide that has resorted to rioting.

I'm not talking about lone wackos or peaceful marches, but of organized and destructive protests, much of which of course is bought and paid for. Keep in mind that these riots are seldom spontaneous, but people are literally hired and bused in to provide mayhem and chaos.

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Fake News
by Alfman on Sat 3rd Dec 2016 16:08 UTC in reply to "RE: Fake News"
Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

ConceptJunkie,

Yes, because right-wingers riot all the time. Seriously, when has there been any kind of riot like you describe in the past couple generations?


There were riots over Obama's reelection, for example:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/07/university-mississippi-stu...

Yes, Trump commands a cult of personality such that he could have incited such a reaction (much like Obama has constantly done, and for the same reasons, in the past 8 years), but the truth is that there is really only one side of the political divide that has resorted to rioting.


Do you think it's dangerous to incite such reactions? (btw can you find me some clips when Obama has done it?). Obviously Trump voters have no reason to riot or protest this time round because they won.


I'm not talking about lone wackos or peaceful marches, but of organized and destructive protests, much of which of course is bought and paid for. Keep in mind that these riots are seldom spontaneous, but people are literally hired and bused in to provide mayhem and chaos.


I don't like it either, but unfortunately it happens on both sides:
http://rightwingnews.com/hillary-clinton-2/bill-clinton-rapist-prot...
This is all part of a challenge that Alex Jones put out there saying that if you could get on video yelling that Bill Clinton was a rapist and get it out there, he would pay for it. Evidently, Jones has a lot of followers who are taking him up on that challenge because this has happened numerous times now.


Edited 2016-12-03 16:26 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE: Fake News
by jgfenix on Fri 2nd Dec 2016 19:09 UTC in reply to "Fake News"
jgfenix Member since:
2006-05-25

In my experience the ones rioting are always the same in most countries and tend to the left.

Reply Score: 2

hamlatzis
Member since:
2014-09-19

It's a lot of fun watching journalists and politicians reproducing fake news and then getting caught

Very recently in Greece the public news channel reproduced a fake information from a web site known for its pranks, actually in the main page it says everything is a prank. They got caught but didn't even apologise

Similarly a politican used the same site and reproduced an article, got caught and again didn't apologise

Reply Score: 1

Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

hamlatzis,

Facebook should NOT & must NOT wipe out fake news
...
It's a lot of fun watching journalists and politicians reproducing fake news and then getting caught

Similarly a politican used the same site and reproduced an article, got caught and again didn't apologise


Do you realize this fake FB news was written by teenagers for profit? FB promoted their fake news over real news, if sites like FB don't do anything to curtail facebook's promotion of fake news, realistically, this problem is going to continue to get worse over time. You find it entertaining, but meanwhile it's causing a lot of harm.

I'm not calling for FB to "wipe it out", only to stop promoting it or at least try and label it for what it is.

Reply Score: 3

Fake news vs censure vs opinion
by jgfenix on Thu 1st Dec 2016 08:10 UTC
jgfenix
Member since:
2006-05-25

Many will call "fake" to all that disagrees with what they want/believe or are negative to them. This is a dangerous game.
If I say "Obama is dangerous, I don´t like him" it´s a matter of opinion. If I say "he killed my mom" that is fake.
I personally disagree with most of what Krugman says what I don´t say that he is a liar, I only believe that he is wrong.

Reply Score: 1

ahferroin7 Member since:
2015-10-30

The problem there is that many people have trouble understanding th the difference between factual data and opinions (and an overly strong tendency of many people to state opinions s if they are facts).

Reply Score: 2

Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

ahferroin7,

The problem there is that many people have trouble understanding th the difference between factual data and opinions (and an overly strong tendency of many people to state opinions s if they are facts).


Calling them "opinions" is being generous for lies that are intentionally made up (they're not even the legitimate opinions of those spreading them). I'd also say it's a problem that people have a tendency to accept opinions/lies as if they are facts.

Politicians have never been particularly trustworthy (ie Clinton being cornered on emails and then lying about it). But this election seemed very different to me because Trump wasn't "cornered" into producing lies, he fabricated them voluntarily on a regular basis. Heck he even began his political career with the lie about Obama's nationality. I'm concerned what happens next now that Trump demonstrated that political elections can be won without facts at all, pure lies will do.

Edited 2016-12-01 15:58 UTC

Reply Score: 2

ConceptJunkie Member since:
2012-05-18

I'm finding it harder and harder to believe that Krugman could possibly believe the nonsense he spouts. However, it is opinion and analysis and not hard news. So while there's nothing wrong with offering a wrong opinion, at some point, such a consistent record of being wrong about everything should start to be noticed.

Reply Score: 1

Comment by mkone
by mkone on Thu 1st Dec 2016 17:31 UTC
mkone
Member since:
2006-03-14

Is it really Facebook's job to solve for people's stupidity? In my view, it really isn't. On top of that, I somehow doubt the tech media would be as worked up over this as they are now had Clinton won the election - and all of you know my political leanings well enough by now to understand the value of me saying this.


Agree that it probably isn't Facebook's job to police "fake news".

However, the way you put it across makes you come across as quite pompous re "the value of me saying this"!

Reply Score: 2

RE: Comment by mkone
by ConceptJunkie on Fri 2nd Dec 2016 18:15 UTC in reply to "Comment by mkone"
ConceptJunkie Member since:
2012-05-18

Facebook has clearly shown a political bias, as would be expected from any private organization. The problem is that one person's real news is often another person's fake news and vice versa. There is fake news out there, but it's getting harder and harder to distinguish what's fake a what's real because there's so much contradictory information and _everything_ has an agenda behind it.

Reply Score: 1

Don't be ridiculous
by icicle on Sat 3rd Dec 2016 19:54 UTC
icicle
Member since:
2013-12-07

Censorship is censorship.

Facebook should certainly NOT be allowed to determine what fake news is and is not. NO centralised group should be allowed to.

The solution is simple : expose the lies.

The alt media has been telling the truth more than the mainstream media.

The establishment wants to ban the alt media.

"Fake news" is their new tool.

Reply Score: 1

Bubbles
by rlees42 on Sun 4th Dec 2016 09:09 UTC
rlees42
Member since:
2016-12-04

So yesterday I visited brietbart.com for the first time. At first I thought: Lordy, how can these people regurgitate the same ridiculous tropes in response to every issue? But then I went back to jezebel.com and salon.com and took a good look at the comments to the editorials that were superficially presented as news and I realized that this "fake news" thing really has some serious legs.

In fact, I can remember at least 5 times in the last year that I didn't make it more than 50% of the way thru a Washington Post article because it was just way too "heavy" and started to deviate from what I already knew to be "the truth".

No one is interested in facts anymore - they just want the blurry picture to align with what they already know.

I think we're all doomed.

But that's just the blurry picture.

Reply Score: 1