Facebook Takes Steps To Eliminate Fake News From Their News Feed
There has been much debate across the internet post-election regarding the impact of fake news on the election as well as the hearts and minds of the American people.
It should come as no surprise not everyone agrees a particular article is actually fake news. Snopes cautions us to make a clear distinction between bad news and fake news. Bad news lacks journalistic integrity where the reporter attempts to mislead the reader by weaving actual facts into the story along with personal bias designed to appear to also be fact.
In contrast, fake news contains no verifiable facts and is often used as link bait to increase ad revenue on the fake news site.
In a recent article, the Washington Post reports that Facebook and Google have taken measures to purge fake news.
Sites such as Google and Facebook walk a fine line. They want to honor the US constitutional right to free speech. They don't want to be sucked into an impossible task of editing the internet. On the other hand, their reach is overwhelming. And with that reach comes responsibility.
So I propose a solution. Facebook is user-generated content. Period. It uses a complex set of algorithms to offer you a personally tuned signal amidst the plethora of noise available on its platform. So why not add another knob on the dial where users can rate the quality of the news post? We're already used to clicking on a variety of emojis to indicate how we feel about a post. Let the hive mind of Facebook users determine the veracity of the post as well.
Hopefully, we're all familiar with Politifact's Truth-O-Meter. They research and fact-check political statements and give them a rating that includes a visual aid that anyone can grasp in seconds.
So, rather than Facebook attempting to purge the fake news or bad news from the site, let the users rate the news and then display a meter based on the rating. Facebook won't be accused of censorship or curating or unduly influencing users.
I believe it's better to allow the articles to be seen, but with a clear truth-o-meter rating. All of us know people who post, like and share without even reading. If they can't even do that, there's no way they're going to fact-check. It's better to show them what is false or true rather than have fake or bad news slip through an algorithmic crack.