back to article Facebook grows a conscience, admits it corroded democracy

Facebook has admitted it was "far too slow" to recognize that its systems were being used to "spread misinformation and corrode democracy." In a blog post today by its manager of civic engagement Samidh Chakrabarti, the social media giant appears to have become self-aware following a year in which countless researchers, …

  1. JohnFen Silver badge

    Next step

    "In 2016, we at Facebook were far too slow to recognize how bad actors were abusing our platform. We’re working diligently to neutralize these risks now."

    That's a good start, and I commend Facebook for acknowledging that. I hope that we see the next logical step of their newfound introspection: recognition that Facebook's own behaviors, not just outsiders abusing the platform, are just as corrosive.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Next step

      recognition that Facebook's own behaviors,

      It is one of the core features in any sociopathic disorder - the sociopaths never perceive themselves as such.

    2. macjules Silver badge

      Re: Next step

      "In this post, I'll share how we are thinking about confronting the most consequential downsides of social media on democracy, and also discuss how we're working to amplify the positive ways it can strengthen democracy, too," he said."

      1) "Can we money out of this?"

      2) "Can we make a sh*tload of money out of this?"

      3) "Well Mr Investigative Committee into Treason Against America Chairman, you know I ever actually made that statement, it was an intern in our marketing department."

    3. DougS Silver badge

      Re: Next step

      Agreed.

      While Facebook can be deliberately abused by outsiders intent on pushing a particular narrative, there's a worse problem that is by-design. Association with 'friends' and the way Facebook decides what to show you mean everyone on Facebook is in their own little reality bubble.

      If you mostly click on liberal news stories from sites like Occupy Democrats, you'll be shown more liberal news stories that other people who clicked on the same Occupy Democrats stuff also read. Ditto for conservatives who mostly click on conservative news stories from sites like Breitbart. I'm not saying it is Facebook's job to expose us to a variety of viewpoints, but they should take some deserved blame for the political polarization we face not only in the US but also other places around the world. The first step to a solution is for those who can change things to accept blame...

      1. LDS Silver badge

        "If you mostly click on..."

        That's because true journalism and marketing are very different activities. Just Facebook can't admit it's just a huge marketing operation based on a huge data slurping operation to feed its marketing activities.

        You see Zuckerberg is obsessed in presenting Facebook as a "great service to mankind" (and many in the media drank his kool-aid, and promoted Facebook beyond any reason) - and that's a huge marketing operation on its own to hide the real aims of the company, otherwise some people will go away.

        Marketing is all about enforcing feedback loops to stimulate need for more (just look at so-called "influencers", another big risk around). As long as it is explicitly shown and perceived as such - as plain ads, or the like - its effects are more or less under control. When it is masked as something else, like in Facebook, it becomes much more dangerous, even more so when exploiting it for propaganda - the most dangerous form of "marketing" - it very easy.

        It is true propaganda and politically-oriented media always existed. but it was far easier to identify them., and the didn't have the huge trove of personal data for targeting Facebook has.

        Platforms built explicitly to directly naive users well classified allowing highly targeted "attacks" are far more dangerous.

        Facebook itself, the way it is build and operates is the problem. There is no way to fix it, without causing it to fail. So they need a smoke screen.

    4. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Re: Next step

      With all that was said, in the final analysis, I see instead of Erich & Hans on this.. it's more like Sgt. Shultz..... "Nothing... I see nothing!!!"

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Quick - Act - Regulators are at the door

    Look like you care Zuk, just pretend, act it out etc...

    (Chattering sociopathic monkeys inside Zuk's head]

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Entire Industry based on insidious lies

      Zuk and his entire industry is based on insidious lies. He's just putting a spin on the symptoms not addressing the actual cause.

      Examples:

      #1. Is Zuk going to delete the behavioral data that was captured during Fake News season?

      #2. Is Zuk going to stop using LIKE buttons on every internet site to slurp visitors regardless of whether they're an FB user?

      #3. Is Zuk going to say sorry for lying about not being able to slurp WhatsApp data and consequently kill off using that data?

    3. EarthDog

      Re: Quick - Act - Regulators are at the door

      Jesus is coming, everybody look busy!

  3. fidodogbreath Silver badge

    Without Facebook, how would we ever know that our high-school acquaintance's neighbor's ex-husband has commented on something?

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This is So Rich...

    Facebook has admitted it was "far too slow" to recognize that its systems were being used to "spread misinformation and corrode democracy."

    ...that it should come with nutritional info.

    Facebook is only chagrin that it disseminated misinformation in opposition to its corporate and social goals.

    I'll be impressed when Facebook admits that it is, in fact, societal cancer.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Hopey changey

    "What gives me hope is that the same ingenuity..."

    Not this again. Just like the FBI director continuing to insist there's a technically safe back door to crypto, if only you guys would just apply some ingenuity.

    Just a thought: Maybe there is no technical solution. Maybe your business model needs to change to solve a difficult problem affecting large parts of society. Heaven forbid we talk about that.

    1. Notas Badoff

      Re: Hopey changey

      "ingenuity..."

      Most likely in the form of some groups laboriously flagging postings with the "looks squirrelly / nutty to us" warnings, funded by someone else of course.

      Meanwhile, unfunded, I can volunteer for free: "looks like bullshit to me!"

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Hopey changey

        They are trying to avoid a full scale investigation into the inner workings of their business. If the feds sent actual experts in to dissect how many real people are actually signed up, the gig would be up. Too much investment and too much FB stock in pension funds, etc for the truth to come out. Admit you made a mistake and are working hard to change, that keeps them away for a while. If the business actually continues, eventually, the feds will want to get in there and lift the hood, and it won't be pretty. How many profiles were created by bots and who owned the bots are the big questions that need to be answered. What if FB had its own bot army pretending to be real people to inflate marketing numbers for advertisers? We can't have that kind of stuff coming to light, now can we zucky poo?

  6. captain_solo

    Surgeon General's warning on the login screen?

    This site Produces Chemicals Known To The State Of California To Cause Cancer, And Birth Defects Or Other Reproductive Harm.

    I mean pretty much everything else in the world is on this California list, so...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Reproductive Harm

      In other words: reproducing. If I had been present ar the creation, I would have suggested making the process just a little more difficult - something requiring an IQ of about 100. But then I would probably have had to listen to a "Your mama" burn from God.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Reproductive Harm

        I believe God's humour is a bit more refined. Witness the human buttocks.

  7. The Man Who Fell To Earth Silver badge
    WTF?

    unforeseen ways?

    Facebook's never invented a god damn thing, only rearranged deck chairs. And as such, the abuse of it's platform was "unforeseen" only by people dumb as posts and twice as blind. Which, like Mr. Chakrabarti, apparently is the only type of people Facebook has hired all these years.

    1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

      Re: unforeseen ways?

      Which, like Mr. Chakrabarti, apparently is the only type of people Facebook has hired all these years

      Well - Facebook over the years has hired 3 types of people:

      1. Techies to get the site working and the icky technical stuff. Not given the big picture.

      2. Amoral marketing types who would, if they hadn't already, sell their own parents to assist their own career advancement and think that ethics is just a county in England.

      3. Wide-eyed dreamer types with minimal connection to reality.

      I suspect that the majority of long-term Facebook management fall firmly into type 2.

  8. grizewald
    WTF?

    This is a stupid discussion

    I am surprised to see people on here talking like they don't understand the Internet.

    Let me get this straight now...

    Some people in one country think that they should control what people on the Internet can say?

    The Internet is an independent territory. It does not exist in a physical place. Nobody has the right (or ability) to control what happens there. The only way to stop it is to turn it all off.

    Life is full of mis- and dis- information. It is your responsibility to be critical of information you receive, regardless of its source. The Internet is no different.

    1. JohnFen Silver badge

      Re: This is a stupid discussion

      Facebook and the internet are two different things.

      1. MrBanana

        Re: This is a stupid discussion

        "Facebook and the internet are two different things."

        You know that, and I know that. But sadly there are many social media casualties that are clueless to this kind of distinction. And not just Facebook=The Internet. How many times do you see people "go to a website" by typing the address into the google search box and hitting return. Then choosing the top, or some other random result, from what gets served up. The ability to type the address into the browser's URL box and then click "visit website" is an alien notion to their understanding of Google=The Internet.

    2. DavCrav Silver badge

      Re: This is a stupid discussion

      "The Internet is an independent territory. It does not exist in a physical place. Nobody has the right (or ability) to control what happens there. The only way to stop it is to turn it all off."

      This was a popular notion back in the early 2000s, and I'm surprised that anyone has kept it this long. The reality is that the Internet is not an independent territory, it is like the international telephone system. Bits of it lie in different countries, and those bits fall under those countries' jurisdiction. If they want to filter what happens on their bits of the network then they can.

    3. Philip Stott

      Re: This is a stupid discussion

      I understand what you’re saying i.e. that people should be capable of critical thought and be able to decide for themselves what constitutes “fake news”.

      Unfortunately, (and I realise this will sound elitist) there is a large demographic that can’t do this. This is why we have controls on how much of a slice of news organisations should be allowed to be controlled by a single entity - witness the recent Fox News/Rupert Murdoch tie up falling foul of the UK Competion and Markets Authority decision.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Holmes

    But what exactly counts as fake news?

    Yes, I know: "News that is fake". But that doesn't really answer my question.

    Because from what I can tell someone who shares "these forest fires are HUGE, the smoke is unbelievable" could share something which they believe. The smoke could indeed be massively thick making the whole thing look much more threatening. A helicopter flying overhead though might be able to spot that it's only 1 (relatively) small fire hazard.

    So is this "fake news" (because you could draw the wrong conclusions about the forest fire) or just someone sharing an innocent opinion / observation?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: But what exactly counts as fake news?

      Fake news is when something is real but you want it to be fake for your own benefit. The more fake news you put out there enables you to bury bad news that's actually true leaving the general population scratching their heads uttering things like "what the fudge?"

      1. Naselus

        Re: But what exactly counts as fake news?

        "Fake news is when something is real but you want it to be fake for your own benefit."

        And stuff which is not real but you'd really like it to be is 'alternative facts'.

  10. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

    I must be doing something wrong here

    I will start off by admitting I have an FB account. I'm sorry. Actually I have about half-a-dozen that I use for test purposes.

    Anyway, 'my' account is mainly used for promoting a local charity. I haven't got many 'friends', ('twas ever thus) as I use a fake name and bio, definitely no ex-lover's bank-managers or whatever.

    But the thing is, I have no idea what this fake news pushing story is all about. I never see anything remotely like 'news' on my FB page. It's mainly cat cartoons to be honest. Possibly I've switched things off and don't remember, but defo (note cool hip term) nothing plugging the orange one. Possibly my eyes are just filtering it out automagically.

    What am I doing wrong? Am I too unimportant and unworthy to be a target of Putin's troll-factory?

    1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

      Re: I must be doing something wrong here

      It's mainly cat cartoons to be honest

      [Nods approvingly]

      (There is more to life than cat cartoon admittedly. Like trying to integrate cat no.7 into the household despite the fact that she's about 7 years younger than the youngest of the previous tranche.. maybe I need to get another 5 month old cat to keep her company..)

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I must be doing something wrong here

      Exactly: "I have about half-a-dozen that I use for test purposes.". Facebook is good at selling targeted advertising - the fakes were not spread spam-like to world+dogs, they were targeted with specific contents for maximum effect. It's probable fake accounts with little data and very small circles were not targeted at all.

    3. disgustedoftunbridgewells Silver badge

      Re: I must be doing something wrong here

      Be careful using facebook profiles for your charity.

      My rugby club used a profile account for their club page. Somebody ( come on, it was the rival club down the road - I can confidently guess the individual who did it ) reported it to facebook. Now my club has had to rebuild its profile, recreate all the events that were lost in the page getting closed, etc.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I must be doing something wrong here

      Although meant in jest, if you think that the "Putin Troll factory" is the only or indeed even the most active set of "media interference" going on, I think you are in for a big shock...

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Facebook Grows A Conscience

    Vaporings do not a conscience make. I would argue Facebook's continued existence proves lack of same - conscience that is. But I do enjoy Mr Zuckerbergs philosophical manifestos. He is the Jaden Smith of Silicon Valley.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Fake News Filter

    127.0.0.1 facebook.com

    127.0.0.1 www.facebook.com

    127.0.0.1 login.facebook.com

    127.0.0.1 www.login.facebook.com

    127.0.0.1 fbcdn.net

    127.0.0.1 www.fbcdn.net

    127.0.0.1 fbcdn.com

    127.0.0.1 www.fbcdn.com

    127.0.0.1 static.ak.fbcdn.net

    127.0.0.1 static.ak.connect.facebook.com

    127.0.0.1 connect.facebook.net

    127.0.0.1 www.connect.facebook.net

    127.0.0.1 apps.facebook.com

    # Block Facebook IPv6

    ::1 facebook.com

    ::1 graph.facebook.com

    ::1 www.facebook.com

    ::1 login.facebook.com

    ::1 www.login.facebook.com

    ::1 fbcdn.net

    ::1 www.fbcdn.net

    ::1 fbcdn.com

    ::1 www.fbcdn.com

    ::1 static.ak.fbcdn.net

    ::1 static.ak.connect.facebook.com

    ::1 connect.facebook.net

    ::1 www.connect.facebook.net

    ::1 apps.facebook.com

    ::1 edge-star6-shv-02-ams2.facebook.com

  13. The Nazz Silver badge

    So just what is the big deal with the ongoing thing about the Russians?

    Aside from the fact that the article, page 2, starts by saying that Facebooks actions already fall well short of the legal requirements in the US elections, what is the big fuss all about?

    If Electoral Law requires X0 to happen and y) not to happen, then simply enforce it. Now.

    Even if the Russians did buy ads to "persuade" the US electorate, so what? Such a minimal amount in the scheme of things, in the deep cess pits of FB?

    In the end the most obnoxious and dangerous candidiate LOST. Trump won. Get over it.

    And if the Yanks really do want to stop outside influence in future elections would you kindly have a word with the UK's BBC and stop them running their (at least) weekly "Elect Oprah for President Campaign?"

  14. Mark 85 Silver badge

    User blaming?

    Seems Samidh Chakrabarti spent a fair amount of his "discussion" on blaming the users. Maybe a start would be to ban users? Oh wait.. then FB wouldn't have a product to sell to advertisers and the company would fold. Maybe there isn't a downside to this....

  15. Walter Bishop Silver badge
    Big Brother

    Faux News corroded US democracy

    What corroded democracy or in other words got Trump elected was that the US voters totally lost faith in the msg coming out of Faux News and similar examples of the old media. If you followed the polls it was going to be a slamdunk for Clinton. Trouble is, the people no longer believe your bullshit. Nothing to do with the Russians, nothing to do with fake posts on Facebook. That the US establishment has leaned on Chakrabarti to cop a plea is evidence enough of the kind of economic damage can be done to the Zuckerberg organization if they don't get in line. The news in America is bought-and-paid for by the likes of Murdoch. Do you think it any coincidence he's also trashing Facebook in his own organ.

    Jon Stewart on Crossfire

    Jon Stewart Vs Chris Wallace

    Jon Stewart on Crossfire

    1. JohnFen Silver badge

      Re: Faux News corroded US democracy

      " If you followed the polls it was going to be a slamdunk for Clinton."

      Not true. The respected national polls never showed that (there were a number of regional polls and polls from disreputable organizations that did, but they don't count.

      If you look at the polling numbers, you'll find that the election results were pretty much within their margins of error.

    2. PhillyIT

      Re: Faux News corroded US democracy

      That's not how I remember it. After the Access Hollywood video was released it looked like a slam dunk for Hillary. Then two weeks (one week?) before the election the FBI revisited Hillary's emails courtesy of Andrew Weiner. The polls tightened up at that point. That and the usual margin of error of the polls themselves indicate that polling itself wasn't that far off the mark.

  16. Marshalltown

    Democracy - hmmm

    The real problem is not the damage to democracy, which in a rather raw(ish) form went and saddle us with Trump. The US is a republic and as such, theoretically elects (democractically) well informed "specialists" to do work that us proles are too busy being productive, lazy or ignorant to address directly. That is, a republic is an indirectly democratic government rather than a democracy per se. The US Constitution actually enshrines certain nature rights in the Bill of Rights and if one reads them very carefully, and one is equipped with good reading skills and perhaps a slight skill in wading through the wordiness of the late 18th Century, then it quite clear that the authors trusted "democracy" just about as far as they trusted the British monarchy - i.e. not at all. Mobs are, after all, democracy in action. One of the natural rights the Bill of Rights enshrines is the right of dissent - regardless of the kind, but particularly from religion. Among other things they had studied the history of England and its Glorious Revolution carefully. The lessons learned were what structured the US Constitution and one reason that British common law authorities are still cited in US law. No, the real damage is the self-inflicted damage done by the republican (not Republican) government on itself that provided the weakness exploited by all that fake news.

    1. JohnFen Silver badge

      Re: Democracy - hmmm

      "The real problem is not the damage to democracy, which in a rather raw(ish) form went and saddle us with Trump. "

      Interestingly, the primary (and most cogent) argument for the existence of the electoral college is that it protects us from the problems of raw democracy -- namely, that a charismatic populist who is unqualified or overtly bad for the nation could be elected.

      The results of the last election, though, was just the opposite. Trump lost the democratic vote, but was seated by the electoral college anyway.

  17. Lysenko

    Here's a radical idea...

    "While FB is a US-headquartered company, only approximately one-eighth of active user accounts are American (India has single largest membership) so FB will cease to be guided primarily by the First Amendment to the US Constitution (which only applies to the US Federal Government in any case) and will seek to cease to promote the dissemination of lies, half-truths and mendacious distortions under colour of a fictitious legal mandate. We will closely examine political campaigning rules, fairness doctrines and journalistic integrity requirements as reflected by the democracies our users elect and seek to implement a synthesis and global standard.

    For the avoidance of doubt, this will entail material departures from common US expectations and practices since it will not include a license to lie, defame and misrepresent, nor confer 'freedom of speech' rights to corporations, foundations and other non-human entities."

  18. Teiwaz Silver badge

    This just the usual Strategy, the corporate two-step

    Admit nothing you don't have to.

    Facebook are still perceiving negative publicity from this scandal.

    Having ignored it for a period hoping it would blow over, they give a step hoping to placate and diffuse,

    That having not worked they give ground again.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So they only recognised the threat to democracy only when people with the views they don’t like started using it? While the “correct” ideology was spread by their liberal friends they did not mind?

    1. Stu Mac

      I do believe you nailed it, exactly!!

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Bit late

    We got a suicidal brexit disaster on our hands and an idiot as an American president thanks to Facebook fake news.

    The Russians are the only ones smiling...

    1. Stu Mac

      Re: Bit late

      Sarcasm or are you part of the problem?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Bit late

      Typical comment, wah wah wah, "the people" decided wrong so we have a crisis of democracy. Maybe we need to take Bertold Brechts's advice and elect a better people.

      "Fake news" was everywhere and spread by everyone on all sides, and what's more, always has been. The Russians probably are the only ones smiling, because their intent was to stir things up and undermine the legitimacy of Western elections, and because of the self-serving over the top reactions from the losers in the two cases you mention they have succeeded beyond their wildest dreams.

      Who in their right mind could believe that the Russian campaigns on FB had any measurable effect on the US elections ? They spent it is said $100K, the Clinton campaign alone spent well over $1B on the campaign, over 1,000 times as much.

      The real threat to democracy comes from the insiders who conspire against the people making up their own minds. When one's own security services form secret societies to undermine legitimate inquiries and to overturn legitimate election results - that's when there's a threat to democracy.

  21. RobertLongshaft

    Facebook - a company that declared Snopes as its fact checking source

    Here's a few facts for you on Snopes:

    It was founded by husband-and-wife Barbara and David Mikkelson, who used a letterhead claiming they were a non-existent society to start their research

    Now they are divorced - with Barbara claiming in legal documents he embezzled $98,000 of company money and spent it on 'himself and prostitutes'

    In a lengthy and bitter legal dispute he is claiming to be underpaid and demanding 'industry standard' or at least $360,000 a year

    The two also dispute what are basic facts of their case - despite Snopes.com saying its 'ownership' is committed to 'accuracy and impartiality'

    Snopes.com founder David Mikkelson's new wife Elyssa Young is employed by the website as an administrator

    She has worked as an escort and porn actress and despite claims website is non-political ran as a Libertarian for Congress on a 'Dump Bush' platform

    Its main 'fact checker' is Kimberly LaCapria, whose blog 'ViceVixen' says she is in touch with her 'domme side' and has posted on Snopes.com while smoking pot

    Of course this sounds like the bastion of truth and politically neutral content.............zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      This says more about the state of the media than anything about Snopes, which is basically about as trustworthy as the internet is.

  22. unwarranted triumphalism

    No they didn't

    Too late for the losing side to complain now. Trump won, get over it.

  23. Stu Mac

    "protecting our community from abuse and hate"

    I guess Facebook doesn't do irony?

    I'm fairly sure it isn't ANTIFA and various fringe marxist rabble they want to suppress.

  24. DavCrav Silver badge

    "Too late for the losing side to complain now. Trump won, get over it."

    Is it? What's the statute of limitations on electoral fraud? Robert Mueller doesn't seem to think it's too late, for example.

    1. unwarranted triumphalism

      There was no electoral fraud.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Mueller is part of the fraud ! Appointed by Ron Rosenberg who is part of the DOJ/FBI "secret society", employed both Peter Strzok and Lisa Page, plus Ohr, has spent, what, seven months finding no collusion despite using all the classic abuses of prosecutors (3 am raids, charges unrelated to his investigation to get plea deal, ambush interviews).

      Release the memo on the FISA abuses and appoint a special counsel to investigate the "secret society" and its ramifications. Find out just who in the FBI ordered the deletion of the texts between Strzok and Page for the critical six month period. Put them all under oath and under the same pressure that Mueller is using, arrange 3 am raids on Ohr, Strzok, McCabe, Comey, Mueller, subpoena all their communications and confiscate their computers and electronic devices. Get to the bottom of this conspiracy to overturn an election.

      That conspiracy for which we now have considerable circumstantial evidence, is a far more serious threat than the concocted "Russian Collusion" narrative cooked up by the Clinton campaign and its cohorts.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Change the method of presentation and solve the problem.

    The problem isn't the content, it's how Facebook presents content and does not differentiate between content types. Everything just appears in your newsfeed, no matter what it is, but the real news is that THERE ARE NO NEWS STORIES in your newsfeed. I've never seen a single genuine news article just appear in my so-called "newsfeed" from a verifiable source. If it's in my newsfeed it's either because a friend posted it, shared it or someone paid to put it there. How the f*** can that be called "news"?

    Different content sources should be easy to differentiate from each other. Your friends are not bone-fide and verifiable news sources. If it's paid-for advertising then it's not news either. If your friend shares a non-FB link then that's different too. These things should just be made much clearer, and if they were then people would question the source of the information much more readily. Instead they are all lumped into a single so-called newsfeed and they all look the same and people digest it the same - and that's whats snafu about it. Facebook's content delivery is what makes bogus content look legit.

    Differentiate content sources and types and acknowledge that there is no such thing as news on Facebook and stop pretending that there is. Problem solved.

  26. imanidiot Silver badge

    Don't leave it to Facebook

    Facebook has already clearly shown they're not very good at deciding what is and isn't fake or just not particularly convenient for a certain group of people but totally true. Leaving it to Facebook to decide what to show to people makes for a rather dangerous precedent imho. It might not be government censorship, but it's a dangerous power to let a large organisation like FB have.

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Matthew 27:3-5

    When Judas, who had betrayed him, saw that Jesus was condemned, he was seized with remorse and returned the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and the elders. “I have sinned,” he said, “for I have betrayed innocent blood.”

    “What is that to us?” they replied. “That’s your responsibility.”

    So Judas threw the money into the temple and left. Then he went back to Jesus and said, “Look - do you think you could give me just one more chance?

    1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

      Re: Matthew 27:3-5

      Then he went back to Jesus and said, “Look - do you think you could give me just one more chance?“

      Err. no. He went and killed himself. Jesus was under arrest and sentance of death by that point.

      1. Teiwaz Silver badge

        Re: Matthew 27:3-5

        Reply Icon

        Re: Matthew 27:3-5

        Then he went back to Jesus and said, “Look - do you think you could give me just one more chance?“

        Err. no. He went and killed himself. Jesus was under arrest and sentance of death by that point.

        Or so it is rumoured....For 'Gospel truth', it lacks rather a lot in backup evidence.

        1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

          Re: Matthew 27:3-5

          "For 'Gospel truth', it lacks rather a lot in backup evidence."

          In my experience, things are only ever presented as Gospel truth when there is no actual evidence and belief is purely a matter of faith. FWIW, that's seen as a plus point by the enthusiasts: <cite>Thomas replied, “My Lord and my God!” Jesus said to him, “Because you have seen Me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen, and yet have believed.” </cite>. It's just the atheists who insist on actual evidence.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Matthew 27:3-5

        Er, I think the original commenter might be fully aware of that.

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Fake news is fake news

    There's no such thing as fake news it's just "paid-for" advertising or indeed someone's opinion that is presented to look like news. Verify the source - recording the details of legit news sources can't be that onerous. Present an advert so that it looks like an advert and doesn't masquerade as something else.

    The content is irrelevant, but if Facebook's advertising actually looked like adverts no one would use Facebook. You only know it's an advert once you start to interact with the content - by clicking the three dots in the top right and select "hide ad". Until that point it looks like anything else in your newsfeed.

    There should be laws to distinguish advertisements clearly and then at least half the problem goes away. Or, maybe if people were more persistent in flagging everything that appears in their newsfeed that they didn't ask for as "spam" then that might send a strong message too.

    1. veti Silver badge

      Re: Fake news is fake news

      That's the biggest part of the problem, sure, but you're overlooking the multiple layers of obfuscation and laziness involved. It's not (just) Facebook that's misrepresenting stuff as "news": it's also Facebook users, and indeed the news sources themselves.

      The economics of news reporting is fundamentally broken. (Basically: there is no plausible way to make money out of reporting facts. People think that facts are valuable, but only opinions can be monetised. Therefore there's a strong structural incentive to present one as the other.)

      That's not actually Facebook's fault, although they're certainly not doing anything to improve matters.

  29. This post has been deleted by its author

  30. ProgrammerForHire

    Evil Witch

    when will they admit that Hillary lost not because of the Russians, but because she's an evil ugly witch presenting absolutely no trustworthiness to the public, except for the most brain dead .

    As for Facebook, the level of lies and misinformation is comparable to your average chat within any group of people, it's human nature and nothing will change it very soon

    1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

      Re: Evil Witch

      Sigh.

      It's that time of day -0 the US crazies are waking up.

      A bit like the daily version of the Eternal September.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Evil Witch

        > Sigh. It's that time of day -0 the US crazies are waking up.

        At least you didn't say the US white nationalists are waking up... I'd mistake you for a Democrat or CNN. Russian collusion... any day now!

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Evil Witch

      Seen from abroad, last elections were quite interesting.

      On one side you got a Democratic Nixon-like candidate, obsessed with the idea of becoming president one day at any cost, trying over and over, hoping to succeed one day, despite trying as an ex-president wife (something that you thought happens only in Africa or South America), despite her failures as Secretary of State for lack of real competence, and with a party all bent to the Clintons, unable to offer real alternatives to challenge her. Her attempts to look like a plain simple person were ridiculous as well, you need to be a real con artist like Trump to achieve it.

      On the other side you got an elderly, vulgar, ugly Republican Kennedy-like candidate. Women- and sex-obsessed. Beautiful trophy wife, invasive family, very cunning in telling people what they wanted to hear, and in exploiting media. Able to pretend to be a a self-made man (without being) on the common man side, while being a rich man on the richer ones side, and someone who obtained his money in many shady ways, often gaming the system, which is his only real skill.

      Only things in common: both married their daughters to someone from the real estate/financial mafia of New York, but the only ones who took them where the sons of people with criminal records... Clinton got her aide married too, that didn't help her at all....

      Frankly, both ugly and highly incompetent candidates. It there was someone who could have made Clinton win, he was Trump. Unluckily, if there was someone who could have made Trump win, that was exactly Clinton.

      With such two ugly choices available only, and moreover two very polarizing ones, it takes very little to move enough votes in one direction or the other....

      If it was a movie script, with those strange, parodistic, reversed roles of 1960 candidates, it would have been a great one. Unfortunately, that was how US elected their very president....

      If parties and people had selected better candidates, there would have been far less issues. Not that my country is doing better, though.... and that's becoming the bigger problem, high polarization means ugly candidates.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Evil Witch

        Not saying Trump is a good alternative, but I tell you how Clinton looked from the outside US , very corrupt and not trustworthy as well.

        She also lacks charisma and has the image of an inside player ( and justifiably so ), part of the system that many are sick of.

        Trump, for better or worst , has been able to give himself a better look. And no, it doesn't matter he is ugly, people will prefer an ugly man over an ugly woman, the witch description fits Clinton very well.

        And even ignoring all that, the mass amount of scandal surrounding the Democratic Party was enough, they look corrupt af . When will those people get their head out of their ass and just admit defeat ?

      2. PhillyIT

        Re: Evil Witch

        Throughout the primaries and the election polls indicated that if one of the other GOP candidates (maybe not Cruz) was matched against Hillary it would have been a landslide. The reverse was also true, Bernie Sanders was heavily favored over Trump. I said all along that if Hillary was elected she could thank Trump and if Trump got elected he could thank Hillary.

    3. PhillyIT

      Re: Evil Witch

      If I were you I'd avoid attacks on a person's physical appearance. It makes you sound like a misogynist moron.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Evil Witch

        So we'll see an end to references to Orange and Buffoon and the like ? Or as usual do you think that such epithets are entirely justified and even true when applied to their candidate, but terrible and unforgivable slurs against yours ? Oh, and any criticism of a woman must be misogyny ?

        1. veti Silver badge

          Re: Evil Witch

          I'm not going to defend "orange", but "buffoon" is not a comment on appearance.

          As to "we'll see an end to references" - look, you're not arguing with a monolith. I'm not going to try to answer for every person who detests Trump. Some will undoubtedly say thing I won't defend. I don't see why that should stop me from pointing out when others' criticisms are also indefensible. (E.g. see above, vicious ad hominem assaults on snopes.com.)

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Evil Witch

        >If I were you I'd avoid attacks on a person's physical appearance. It makes you sound like a misogynist moron.

        Oh shut up, Democrats go after conservative women all the time. The way Sarah Huckabee Sanders is made fun of is disgraceful.

      3. ProgrammerForHire

        Re: Evil Witch

        Its not a matter of her looks, rather her character showing through looks.

        I also don't understand why attacks on looks would be typical misogyny , because they are mostly used by females.

        Also, why are misogynists morons, please give me one example of one misogynist thing that is moronic

  31. disgustedoftunbridgewells Silver badge

    Can you also get rid of the well meaning but poorly thought out ( or just plain misleading ) left wing nonsense people get tricked into sharing too.

    Cheers.

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Mentally unstable

    Democrats became mentally unstable (more than usual) after the election. Who are we blaming now? Russia? Oh...

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