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Facebook devises user tools to fight "fake news"

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http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-38336212

So now we get to censure ourselves? So what happens when a whole ton of Democrat folks flag an article for fake news because it was from a Republican source or vice versa? Or Tories supporters flag an article from Labour sources? Or SJW vs Alt-Right? And will Facebook be truly neutral in in "fake news" flagging reports or will it bias itself to SJW/liberal tendencies?

Part of freedom of speech is sifting through the bull without censuring everyone whom you think is being disingenuous or just plain wrong. That's how people learn to think, and argue, and reason!

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Facebook said stories which turned out to be fake after fact-checking would be labelled with a link explaining why, and they could also appear lower in people's social feed.

Really, nothing will change. It is a bit unclear what exactly this means, but it sounds like articles repeatedly flagged will have some sort of message at the top saying its disputed (my guess from what I've read). Huge percentages of people share links without even reading them so I fail to see how this will change much.

22 minutes ago, Ln X said:

Part of freedom of speech is sifting through the bull without censuring everyone whom you think is being disingenuous or just plain wrong. That's how people learn to think, and argue, and reason!

 

I agree with you here. Part of freedom of speech is comparing sources from a wide variety and thinking for yourself. However, that's not what most are interested in nowadays. Just a quick share for some likes, and fake stories usually sell a helluva lot better than real ones - regardless of truth. 

 

I'd say FB's tool is more of a "Hey, look how hard we tried!" move than anything else.

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I thought there exists a mechanic within Facebook which lets you filter out the sources you get on your homepage? Usually when i'm there it's just content that I have already seen on Reddit; otherwise i'm not much of an FB user.

As for fake news being debunked, I can call out Snopes or Politifact being potential go-to sources for quick fact checking. I'm not saying they will always be unbiased but they help to dispel the more ridiculous claims that make rounds on the airwaves.

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I would say, yes indeed, this could result in some bad stuff. But I applaud FB's attempt to try. A lot of this fake news has ruined a lot of things, including even businesses, but this way is just not the right way.

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  • Original Poster
  • 3 hours ago, Ichigo951 said:

    I would say, yes indeed, this could result in some bad stuff. But I applaud FB's attempt to try. A lot of this fake news has ruined a lot of things, including even businesses, but this way is just not the right way.

    That is an interesting point- especially in stock markets and bond markets. Misinformation is distributed right up to the point of bankruptcy because it is all about confidence and mitigating any and all damage.

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    12 hours ago, Ichigo951 said:

    A lot of this fake news has ruined a lot of things, including even businesses, but this way is just not the right way.

    Could you point to what you're talking about? What has fake news ruined? Which fake news stories?

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  • Original Poster
  • Alright, here's a thought experiment about how useful or useless fake news flagging tools will be and how effective fact checkers could be.

    ///

    Let's go back to the run up to the 2003 Iraq War as this is a great event to use as a litmus test. Imagine social media existed back then (believe it or not Facebook was only a year away!) and there is an internet war raging about who is right: there are WMDs vs there are no WMDs. Let's simplify this to side 1 vs side 2.

    Side 1 will point to government reports, intelligence reports and media coverage supporting their view. Side 2 will argue about the history of Iraq in the 1990s and the aerial sorties and covert action which destroyed all of Saddam's SCUD missiles, chemical weapons and chemical weapon manufacturing facilities.

    Side 1 will argue this history is irrelevant since there is new evidence. Side 2 will argue this new evidence is very dubious at best and seems contradictory.

    Who is right? Is Side 1 right because MSM and the government say there are WMDs? Or is Side 2 right because it is has read the situation better and can see glaring contradictions to the whole WMD claims?

    So enter the fake news flagging tools and fact checkers. Who will the fact checkers side with? Will they present the full information or simply information which is immediately available and currently circulating by official outlets? Will there be omission of facts because they considered obsolete based on... What criterion? Interpretation of history? Trust in government and media? Conspiracy theory? Not properly sourced, i.e. not officially approved?

    If the fact checkers rely on government information, or information from the media which ultimately comes from government information, then how can impartiality and the truth of the situation be made known? Will views from Side 2 be flagged because they are outside of the mainstream narrative or viewed as conspiracy theories or viewed as not credible due to a very small amount of professional (read media, government, military...) opinion which supports Side 2's views?

    Can fact checkers really be trusted when really they are just another factor to consider when working out the truth of news stories and information? Will fact checkers naturally defer to government, corporate and TPTB (The Powers That Be) facts because they are the defacto source for information? Can alternate views be cleared, that is not flagged, if they are outside the current prevailing opinion? Will fact checkers give alternate views and interpretations balance? More importantly, do the fact checkers have all the information available? Will they make every effort to get to the bottom of a matter if this is there daily job and there are hundreds, maybe thousands, of new items to sift through?

    How will fact checkers condense information? If the information is too small then there is the serious danger of omission. If the information is too large then it is simply regurgitating what it is already out there.

    ///

    So... To conclude the thought experiment ends with the discovery that there were no WMDs- in real life this is what actually happened. Government and the intelligence agencies lied, MSM did not investigate properly and the fact-checkers got it completely wrong.

    What conclusions can be drawn from this? Fact-checkers are only as good as the facts they must deal with. It still remains up to the individual to work out for themselves what is right and what is wrong. Fact-checkers only add another layer of complexity when it comes to working out which information is accurate. There is of course the danger that fact-checkers become the implicit guarantee of what is true and false.

    While flagging options will be a pariah because opposing sides will sift through all articles which invalidate their position and flag for fake news because THEY believe the opposing sides articles are largely fake news due to spin, bias and the side's own interpretation of views.

    So are fact-checkers and fake news flagging options worth it for really important events which require accurate information?

    Run the same thought-experiment for the run-up to the financial crisis. Or for other major events in recent history.

     

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    23 hours ago, Ln X said:

    So enter the fake news flagging tools and fact checkers. Who will the fact checkers side with? Will they present the full information or simply information which is immediately available and currently circulating by official outlets? Will there be omission of facts because they considered obsolete based on... What criterion? Interpretation of history? Trust in government and media? Conspiracy theory? Not properly sourced, i.e. not officially approved?

    The fact checkers chosen by Facebook will choose what their overlords tell them to chose.

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