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Tue Nov 15, 2016, 08:01 PM

The Real Problem With Facebook Runs Much Deeper than Fake News: Slate


Stephen Lam/Reuters, November 15, 11:58am

In the wake of Donald Trump’s election as president, Facebook has taken justifiable heat for its role in spreading misinformation and propaganda about the candidates. In particular, its news feed algorithm fueled a cottage industry of fake and intentionally misleading “news” that skewed heavily anti–Hillary Clinton and pro-Trump, according to a BuzzFeed analysis. These falsehoods attracted far more user engagement, on average, than true stories from the same outlets and drowned out earnest attempts by dedicated fact-checking sites such as Snopes to debunk them.

This should not surprise anyone who.understands how Facebook works. People tend to read, like, and share stories that appeal to their emotions and play to their existing beliefs. Without robust countervailing forces favoring credibility and accuracy, Facebook’s news feed algorithm is bound to spread lies, especially those that serve to bolster people’s preconceived biases. And these falsehoods are bound to influence people’s thinking.

Yet, in the days following, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg downplayed and denied the issue—a defensiveness that says even more about the company than the fake news scandal itself. Zuckerberg’s response points to a problem deeper than any bogus story, one that won’t be fixed by cutting some shady websites out of its advertising network. The problem is,,, Facebook’s refusal to own up to its increasingly dominant role in the news media. It’s one that is unlikely to go away, even if the fake news does. (darkened writing added, not part of original article)

Yes, the truth is complicated, and Facebook should proceed carefully. But there is a growing sense, both inside and outside the company, that it may be proceeding rather too carefully, given its increasingly dominant role in the distribution of news online. And Zuckerberg’s denials seem to be fanning the flames.

Yet in the long run, fake news on Facebook may prove to be a relatively short-lived concern compared with the deeper fault line that the tremors have exposed. It reveals a company increasingly torn between its self-conception as a neutral technology platform and its undeniable influence on the creation, distribution, and consumption of news and other media. And it’s left Zuckerberg, one of the world’s most powerful executives, struggling to keep control of his company and the story it tells about itself.

My opinion.........

This article is complicated, interesting, somewhat long, and seems inclusive on this issue. Nevertheless, it presents a problem that I had not thought about....that Facebook is the dominant source of news in the U.S. today. That seems a bit ridiculous, but when you think about the number of people that use it, as compared with major sources..(like pointed out in the article, re, NY Times for instance) you can see why the writer is correct with the this assumption. And if it is true, then Facebook could be a threat. As pointed out, it may have allowed one sided type "so called news" to be circulated among its readership. This is an important question that at some point needs to be addressed. And, if not addressed in some way, then this will get worse in my opinion. People log on to Facebook for a multitude of reasons: to send pictures, gossip, just keep in touch and many others. If, on the side, it is putting out ideas dangerous to the democracy, as a side show, but in a way that is the "main show", then we as a society could be in deeper trouble than we know.

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Reply The Real Problem With Facebook Runs Much Deeper than Fake News: Slate (Original post)
Stuart G Nov 2016 OP
Skittles Nov 2016 #1

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