Why will People not Shut up About the Facebook Fake News "Epidemic"

I have been reading constant stories about Facebooks problems in the WSJ regarding fake news ever since the election. I find this whole thing ridiculous as a simple excuse for loosing has now exploded into a full blown apparent crises that will not stop being talked about. An article Article Link just came out on CNBC now targeting Facebook for fake news regarding the attack in Germany. Here are some interesting points highlighted in the article:

Concerns have increased that internet hoaxes could significantly impact the upcoming German election which is due to be held between August 27 and November 27.

In response, the German government is reportedly planning a law which would impose fines of up to 500,000 euros ($520,000 dollars) to Facebook for any fake news articles distributed on the site which could impact next year's election.

What does everyone else think about this awful dilemma (sarcasm)...

Comments (11)

Dec 21, 2016

Fake news have always been around. Social media just made this more apparent and far-reaching. What pisses me off is the reaction to this, which is to demand "protection" from fake news because we're too stupid to think about what we read and do some research.

I also love those lunatics who believe some obviously fake ridiculous thing like "Pizzagate" or "Chemtrails" and yell about how the "lying MSM is hiding this truth!!".

To your point, I agree this nonsense is being used as an excuse for the defeat of that particular candidate - But it doesn't matter, the bottom line here is that this is another step into the dumbification of society, just like "trigger warnings" and "safe spaces".

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Dec 21, 2016

What I don't understand is if so many people think this is laughable, how are governments and media networks so easily able to push this agenda of BS. Its an incredible waste of time and money....

Dec 24, 2016

You're paying attention to an issue that doesn't concern you. The fake news "problem" is for people susceptible to fake news in the first place. Stop wasting your time and read something worthwhile.

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Dec 24, 2016

When governments start prosecuting companies over nothing it does concern all of us.

Dec 24, 2016

It's your problem if you let it become that. Company in trouble? Leave the firm and short the shit out of them. People are stupid? Employ them at minimum wage. People believe some stupidity about news? That translates into market inefficiency. So long as you follow the stream of shit that comprises media, you are part of what you perceive to be the issue. People will always be stupid - it's your job to exploit that, profit from it, and be exposed as evil (for exposing the problem), at which point you take your cash and park it elsewhere. I repeat: this isn't your problem.

That's my piece for today. Adios amigos

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Dec 24, 2016

Fake news is a problem and that problem is reflected in statistics about voter beliefs (both democrats and republicans). For instance, over half of Trump voters believe that Trump won the popular vote. Many hyper-partisan online news sites as well as straight up fake news sites have continually published misleading or entirely false news. Working class & poor voters don't have the education or time to separate what is real news and what is fake news. This leads to large percentages of people believing completely false stuff. A democracy does not function properly if voters must spend significant effort deciphering what is real and what is fake. It creates an information asymmetry in which highly educated voters (such as those who post on this forum) are able to vote in a way that is consistent with their values and beliefs. Voters without much education or time to devote to researching candidates/policy are susceptible to manipulation by fake news. My guess is that many people on WSO are probably not friends on fb with many working class people and therefore, don't see why fake news is such a problem. In working class communities (among both democrats and republicans) fake news is rampant.

Dec 24, 2016

Out of curiosity then, should "The Onion" be banned if fake news is an issue? Personally, I believe that the bigger issue stems from the fact that banning fake news is an impediment on free speech, more than anything. And regarding the half of republicans thinking Trump won the popular vote statistic, I can't find where it is at the moment, but the question was phrased in an odd way that made it seem like he did win the popular vote.

Dec 24, 2016

The Onion does a pretty good job of indicating that it is satire. There have been very few instances of an Onion article going viral because people thought it was true. However, there was one Onion article that went viral in China if I recall correctly, that labeled Kim Jong Un as the "sexiest man in the world". People in China apparently thought it was a real news story. Other than that though, I'm not aware of any Onion articles that have been mistaken as true among uneducated voters.

Perhaps it would be advisable for Facebook and other social media outlets to tag The Onion, and other satirical news sites, as satire. I think some social media companies are doing this already. Similarly, it would be advisable for social media companies to tag fake news as "possibly inaccurate" or something. At this point, Facebook and Twitter are publishing platforms. More than half of Americans get their news from either Facebook or Twitter. It is the responsibility of Facebook and Twitter, in my view, to take their roles as publishers seriously and de-prioritize news that is blatantly false.

I'm not sure I would go so far to say that fake news should be "banned" but there are valid arguments for it. For example, if a fake news site posted a fake story about some huge terror attack by muslims and readers of the story went out and killed/assaulted random muslims on the street, should the publishers of the fake news site be held liable in any way? I'm not a lawyer, but I think there's a case to be made in certain instances.

Here is the Pew study on election result awareness:

http://www.people-press.org/2016/12/08/6-awareness...

Dec 26, 2016

While I understand what you are saying, I disagree about your point of there not being time to determine what is fake and what is not. How hard is it to load cnn.com or any other media site in order to briefly learn about what is going on? If this is an actual problem, then we need to be addressing the people who are using social media as their only or primary source of information. Why does a company have to pay for their ignorance?

Dec 24, 2016
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