back to article Facebook recruits some help to fight fakes, but doubles down on wisdom of the crowd

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg appears to have decided that the wisdom of the crowd has its limits. In his second post in a week on how The Social Network™ plans to tackle fake news, Zuckerberg says Facebook users want accurate information and explains that the site's approach has always been to offer users tools they can …

  1. druck Silver badge

    Fake the fakers

    So we can expect armies of nutjobs marking legit stories as fakes now, so their preferred fakes wont stand out.

    1. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Re: Fake the fakers

      Indeed.. and they'll probably do it from "trusted' fake accounts.

      Icon----> watching FB implode.

  2. MNGrrrl


    I will never understand why people think Zuckerberg is smart. Let us now recount previous ways in which the Zuckerberg has iceberged like the Titanic into ethics and just like that ship of legend, he too has decided to go faster and faster through dangerous terrain...

    His "real name" policy became a magnet for abuse against LGBT, domestic abuse victims, and basically every other marginalized group in society. His solution? Algorithms. And the abuse continued. His solution again? To affirm that, of course it's wrong to go after these people and you know, please stop. People didn't. His solution even booted off Facebook the former employee who campaigned to get extra gender options added to the website... repeatedly.

    But that's just one example, right? No. Then it leaked out the advertising backend was tracking people's race, gender, etc., and that these options could be used to discriminate against people in housing and employment. And the same scenario played out: He promised oversight, and a new algorithm was rolled out, which of course promptly fell flat on its face... because it only tracks a few keywords and is easy to get around. And there's no punishment for repeat offenders of course, because acting ethically would get in the way of Facebook being the premier source of turning people into products for advertisers.

    And now, this lovecraftian horror story of what happens when you let someone young and stupid become rich and famous (nothing good, obviously) has its third chapter: It's now destabilized a major world government by pumping out fake news that crashed an election, and again the excuse was "the algorithm did it". And the same empty promises: That it will be tweaked soon. You can trust us. Honest. We're good at this. And people keep right on believing that with the right application of code, algorithms, and technology, we can just dial up justice. Fairness, perhaps, but never mistake that for justice -- the cold logic of a machine can pump out baby bottles and with equal efficiency launch the missiles that will end civilization.

    Those of us who helped bring the internet to the masses thought it would encourage democracy, that the free flow of information would lead to better education and decisions, and that social problems like sexism, racism, nationalism, and more would all be washed away and we'd all become international citizens and kick off an evolution in what it means to be human that would accelerate the elimination of these social problems.

    We were very, very wrong. I feel like Wernher von Braun watching his V2 rockets sail into Paris... the rocket performed perfectly, except for landing on the wrong planet. The internet is my generation's V2, and the sad part is... even as our world burns, people still applaud. They have no idea what they've done.

    1. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Re: Zuckered

      Upvote.. wish there we more I could. Your last two paragraphs pretty much sum it up. Greed in form of spam and then viruses took over and now those would de-stabilize every country, every value people hold are running amok. The internet has been subverted to creating more problems than it has solved.

      True, commerce has improved but there's scammers and counterfeiters running amok there. Politics has fallen into that dark place. The media sucks up the fake stories without checking the facts and pushes them out as if it were their "exclusive".

      Very disheartening.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    This may sound like a good idea, but in the longer run all I see this doing is apply a mild form of censorship. And a stupid one at that. For example: if a "trusted source" marks something as fake, then what? Just because a source is trusted doesn't automatically imply that they can never be wrong themselves either.

    And sometimes the media can be wrong too, horribly wrong. Then what?

    Instead of trying to label stuff people should take their own responsibility and determine the validity for themselves. And yes, sometimes that means <gasp> actually checking some different news sources yourself.

    Stop trying to be so lazy all the time!

    1. MNGrrrl

      Re: Censorship?

      > Stop trying to be so lazy all the time!

      But... that's what Facebook is for. So people can be lazy at work. It's like the main selling point! I mean, besides making *you* a selling point...

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      How libertarian of you

      "people should take their own responsibility"

      Which is why we have laws to force people to wear seatbelts for their own good, and so that the rest of us don't have to pay their medical bills.

      *Because* people *are* too lazy to put them on to save their own lives, to read labels for warnings, to read reviews about bad products, to pay attention to medical news about what will kill them, heck, to even take a moment to consider whether a particular politician has any resemblance to a honest person!

      Laziness worms it way into quite a lot of thinking, it seems.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Censorship?

      Agreed, but the laziness of FB users is extreme.

      I have been in a few groups on Facebook, usually relating to my local (non home) country.

      People will post in facebook what they should post on google... "where can i buy rice", "is x movie being released in this country". I don't understand why they don't know or care they can get the answer instantly if they just used the internet a little bit more.

      Fake news... i think we need to define that term better, if we have the same story from the too left BBC and the too right Fox, they wont be the same... which is fake and which is the trusted source?

      1. Mark 85 Silver badge

        Re: Censorship?

        Fake news... i think we need to define that term better, if we have the same story from the too left BBC and the too right Fox, they wont be the same... which is fake and which is the trusted source?

        The truth will be somewhere in the middle. The problem is there are no "middle" news sources anymore so the "middle" is a moving target.

      2. tiggity Silver badge

        Re: Censorship?

        BBC Left?

        It's Right wing, just not as right as Fox.

        BBC just makes the occasional not right wing program to suggest a semblance of balance.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Censorship?

        The real problem isn't with stories being inaccurate, but with reporting being very, very selective. Take Aleppo, for example. For the last few years stuff has being happening there almost every day. But mainstream news in the UK has a story only occasionally, and that story is generally about something very specific - usually a baby getting killed - with hardly any background explanation - which, admittedly, would be almost impossible to provide within the constraints of a news report.

        So perhaps it would be better if people who aren't prepared to read a few hundred thousand words on a subject weren't exposed to "stories" about Aleppo, or whatever, and would just stick to stories about celebrities, or, for better mental health, stick to reading novels... So, basically, kill all "news", not just the "fake news"...

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          They are talking about FAKE stories, not slanted stories

          Yes, what Fox News says about something may not be the same as what MSNBC says about it. But that's a world of difference from making something up, like the the stories that had the Pope endorsing Trump or an FBI agent investigating Hillary's emails murdered under suspicious circumstances. There's no slant there, these are just complete fabrications.

          As for the purveyors of these fake stories marking real news fake to try to muddy the water, one would hope not just anyone will be able to flag a story as fake. Otherwise a negative but true story about Trump would be flagged as fake by his followers, a negative but true story about Hillary would also be (or would have been, no one cares now that she lost) flagged as fake by hers.

          I would guess maybe people can flag a story and if enough do someone at Facebook will take a look at it. If it references some newspaper that doesn't exist, who is a fake page that claims to be Fox News or CNN but actually isn't, or quotes a NYT article that doesn't exist, it will be easy. If it is some fringe site that makes stuff up, it will be a little more difficult, but presumably if a certain site has a few stories marked fake they could use that knowledge to automatically flag other questionable stories from there - an incentive for such sites to clean up their act and not repost fake shit.

          It won't be easy, and it won't be without controversy, but there are too many brain dead people who see a story against the politician they hate and automatically like and share it not knowing or even caring if it is false. I saw one guy I know is pretty smart (owns his own business worth millions) sharing obviously bullshit stories in the last few months. I assume he knew what he was doing and was just trying to muddy the waters, but maybe he was so brainwashed by Hillary hatred that he really believed the NYPD was investigating her for being part of a child porn ring and other batshit crazy stuff.

  4. Ole Juul

    party line

    I expect fake news will be replaced by propaganda.

  5. cd

    If algorithms work so well, why not run the whole company with them and replace the CEO? Show us some faith.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

    The media itself can't be trusted to police itself so how can facebook be trusted to police the media?

    They have their own agenda. What if a particular media outlet publishes a story against facebook, will facebook continue to impartial? What if the person deciding if the news should have relevance on facebook disagrees with the news being reported?

    The one good thing about this is that people now realise the power that facebook and social media in general have to alter opinion. Whether this will lead to change is another matter.

    I think this has only become news because of Trump though I think his election was more to do with people being disillusioned with politics in general and looking for change.

  7. Aynon Yuser

    <Sarcasm> Yes. We should trust him... completely. </Sarcasm>

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