Facebook employees have reportedly created a task force to stop fake news stories

By midian182 ยท 61 replies
Nov 15, 2016
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  1. Last week, Mark Zuckerberg spoke out against claims that fake Facebook news stories helped Donald Trump win the election. The CEO called the idea “pretty crazy,” but it seems some of his staff disagree. According to a Buzzfeed report, “more than dozens” of employees have formed an unofficial task force to address the problem.

    One employee revealed that there were “more than dozens” of people involved with the group. Speaking about Zuckerberg’s earlier comments, they said: “It’s not a crazy idea. What’s crazy is for him to come out and dismiss it like that, when he knows, and those of us at the company know, that fake news ran wild on our platform during the entire campaign season.”

    While the group is currently meeting in secret, there are plans to formalize the task force and eventually make a list of recommendations to Facebook senior management. One of the members said that “hundreds” of the social network’s workers are unhappy about their boss’ stance on fake news, and wanted to support efforts that challenge Zuckerberg’s position.

    The Facebook CEO said it took a “profound lack of empathy” to conclude that someone voted the way they did based on a fake social media story. He also played down claims that Facebook had become an echo chamber where people only saw the same views they held. But it seems few people agree with him.

    A Gizmodo article published yesterday claims that Facebook has the tools to shut down fake news stories, but the company won't use them in case it upsets conservatives, who are still angry over the trending topics allegations from earlier this year. Facebook denied that this was true.

    Around 44 percent of US adults get their news from Facebook. Zuckerberg may claim that people know when a story is fake, but there are plenty who believe these items are often substantiated by fact.

    It's been revealed today that both Google and Facebook are updating their policies to prevent fake news sites from using the firms' ad networks to generate revenue.

    Permalink to story.

  2. VitalyT

    VitalyT Russ-Puss Posts: 3,664   +1,949

    Call Onion! Facebook is objecting to their existence!
    wastedkill likes this.
  3. wastedkill

    wastedkill TS Evangelist Posts: 1,423   +350

    The Onion is the best thing to hit the web xD Its seriously funny if your into that type of thing. hope it stays.
  4. p51d007

    p51d007 TS Evangelist Posts: 1,310   +651

    The ONLY way to stop "fake" news on Fakebook, would be to NOT allow stories to post, unless they are vetted.
    "instant" access to everything, these days, prevents stories from being vetted properly.
  5. jhill3d71

    jhill3d71 TS Rookie

    During the election I was checking snopes on just about every story or news post. Almost all completely fake or a half truth. I bet the majority just accept it for truth.
  6. davislane1

    davislane1 TS Grand Inquisitor Posts: 4,737   +3,757

    These organizations are some of the least trusted in the world. Forbidding content because it doesn't meet "their" truth standard is only going to magnify its impact.

    Case in point: spirit cooking and "pizza." These turned up in the Podesta emails and were promptly and universally denounced by the media and so-called fact checkers as utter non-issues based on supposedly fake conspiracy theories.

    Everyone saw this and it blew up. So now, if you supported Clinton, you are probably a supporter of a satanist pedophile. Because "fake."

    Establishing a ministry of truth will only serve to empower that which you claim to want banished. If you want to stop the propagation of actual fake information, you have to make its subscribers look gullible not turn the sources into something sexy.
  7. Cycloid Torus

    Cycloid Torus Stone age computing. Posts: 3,019   +661

    What is 'fake news' really?

    Isn't it a parody ("A parody is a composition that imitates the style of another composition, normally for comic effect and often by applying that style to an outlandish or inappropriate subject." - Cliff Notes ) - exaggerating or inverting the truth beyond the point of 'truthiness'?

    I have a dear friend who cannot tell that something is a parody. It's 'on the news' (I.e., he saw it on the internet) and so he accepts it. When I try to show him how to 'fact check' and to look for collaborative sources, he gets confused and unhappy.

    It makes me want to require some type of label on a parody ( a legend at the top which says "the 'facts' presented here are not necessarily true ones, but are presented to be entertaining to the viewer"), to help my friend grasp the distinction.

    I easily realize that Hillary doesn't eat babies and that Donald doesn't have a secret dacha in the Crimea where he meets Putin to plot the overthrow of NATO, but some folks, like my friend, just don't - especially when the video features a stage set which copies the 6 o'clock news.

    Do you have any ideas about how I could help my friend?
  8. davislane1

    davislane1 TS Grand Inquisitor Posts: 4,737   +3,757

    Mock and ridicule people who subscribe to demonstrably false beliefs. He'll either stop being your friend or stop taking everything at face value.
  9. Cycloid Torus

    Cycloid Torus Stone age computing. Posts: 3,019   +661

    Being my friend, I do not want to "mock and ridicule". I would rather there were a better solution than that one.
  10. madboyv1

    madboyv1 TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,471   +375

    I can't tell you how many times I've seen the Onion used as a source or linked as a news article...

    That being said the Onion is great; I've been reading since back when they were still physically printing weekly issues.
  11. davislane1

    davislane1 TS Grand Inquisitor Posts: 4,737   +3,757

    This is why I said 'others' and not him directly. Outside of shaming, you aren't going to get someone to change the way they behave if that change is harmful to their ego. Think of it as psychological economics. To spark change, you need to create a clear cost and benefit. It has to be extremely uncomfortable to believe X and Y has to appear comfortable by comparison.

    Edit: I said "people" in the first post. I meant "other people."
  12. Cycloid Torus

    Cycloid Torus Stone age computing. Posts: 3,019   +661

    Thank you. I think you do have the essential pivot..."clear cost and benefit". I just hope I can discover or inspire such a solution without making my friend ( a long time chum, but not the sharpest blade in the drawer) feel demeaned.
    davislane1 likes this.
  13. Teko03

    Teko03 TS Evangelist Posts: 415   +186

    What about the false news stories/claims which comes from "memes" ---- they going to filter those as well? LOL
  14. Cycloid Torus

    Cycloid Torus Stone age computing. Posts: 3,019   +661

    "Filter" is not good - that's censorship. However, if "fake news" presented as "true" in a format which clones most of the elements of a "true facts" news provider, does this cross the line and become malicious.

    Should parodies be labelled as such so a malicious use is avoided?
  15. davislane1

    davislane1 TS Grand Inquisitor Posts: 4,737   +3,757

    If we accept the premise, yes.

    This is speech regulation. It starts as something advertised to prevent blatant lies from becoming credible and naturally expands to encompass everything.

    See for reference: ESRB ratings, content warnings in music, etc.
  16. Uncle Al

    Uncle Al TS Evangelist Posts: 3,343   +1,987

    Creating a task force and implementing it are two very different things ..... especially where the owner and CEO is involved .....
  17. Cycloid Torus

    Cycloid Torus Stone age computing. Posts: 3,019   +661

    I most certainly agree. I accept as bearable "guidance" offered in a public spirited manner (X-rated movies are not screened in my house).

    Maybe we should permit something like 'small claims court' for parodies that lie and are also cloaked in a 'truthy' manner. So if a public figure is defamed by something easily proved to be false, he can obtain an immediate injunction requiring the "parody label".

    It pleases me to think that if this were ever misused, that a "parody label" on something proven to be actually true would be a 'badge of honor' (at least the equivalent of a Steam Achievement).
  18. davislane1

    davislane1 TS Grand Inquisitor Posts: 4,737   +3,757

    They can already sue for that.
  19. Cycloid Torus

    Cycloid Torus Stone age computing. Posts: 3,019   +661

    It would take years to move through the current judicial setup, while folks like my friend would suffer the harm. I believe a "small claims" process would be superior to that - especially if the result would only be a truthful label..and nothing more than that.

    vide: http://www.dmlp.org/legal-guide/proving-fault-actual-malice-and-negligence
  20. mbrowne5061

    mbrowne5061 TS Evangelist Posts: 747   +357

    Change their DNS tables on their router so all adresses all point to - that should help.
  21. Cycloid Torus

    Cycloid Torus Stone age computing. Posts: 3,019   +661

    I suppose the self-referencing might help my friend a tiny bit - he is less likely to mislead himself than some of the characters on the web.
  22. seefizzle

    seefizzle TS Evangelist Posts: 337   +199

    Zuckerberg: Facebook had no effect on the election.

    Zuckerberg: We're creating a task force to stop fake news.
  23. mbrowne5061

    mbrowne5061 TS Evangelist Posts: 747   +357

    Plus, its like "pure" functional programing applied to a human: completely self-contained with no inputs or outputs. Just "pure" self-referencing functions.
  24. Cycloid Torus

    Cycloid Torus Stone age computing. Posts: 3,019   +661

    Oh, you mean "coma".
  25. mbrowne5061

    mbrowne5061 TS Evangelist Posts: 747   +357

    I do suspect that most "functional programmers" idolize such a mental state.

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