It doesn't need to be true, it just needs to be shocking, and people will promote it.
This is only fixed by good moderation, with prominent (and powerful) "flag" buttons like Hacker News has. Hacker News and Reddit don't suffer from nearly as much fake news, because moderation teams tend to do a good job of weeding out garbage, and have an easier time with the prominent report buttons.
Facebook and social networks have absolutely no moderation.
Sure they do. They just have zero incentive to remove fake news content. It makes them money, brings in users, everyone is happy! What could be wrong? What's good for Facebook is good for the world!
But it's still the bare minimum.
It amazes me that we've reached the point where there are commenters on Hacker News arguing in favour of online censorship.
> It amazes me that we've reached the point where there are commenters on Hacker News arguing in favour of online censorship.
Moderation includes improving links (such as changing the primary link from a PR note to an actual research paper), improving titles (to reflect what is actually said in an article without unrelated hyperbole from a submitter), or even just adding the year of publishing for older articles in parentheses.
I’m just providing examples that few would debate as censorship. There are certainly others. I absolutely support constructive moderation.
I'm not really sure that removing blatantly false nonsense would be considered "censorship". It's more about improving the quality of the site, and filtering things that are obviously wrong.
Why? Do you think that HN is a moderation-free bastion of unfiltered speech?
You appear to be suffering from the misapprehension that "freedom of speech" means "the HN community should tolerate bullshit" rather than "you can't be put in jail for bullshit". The difference is extremely important to many of us.
So was I. But you're talking about the people here.
I don't see why you think it matters where scam blocking happens. So far in these comments you seem to be saying that scamming needs to be defended as a practice. That's a hugely psychopathic position, so I hope the interpretation is wrong. But when you use the phrase "freedom of speech" against moderation of fake news, which are scams perpetrated on the vulnerable public, not a synonym for "news you don't want to hear", it becomes hard to interpret otherwise. I think that most people here would probably say that Facebook isn't a place where social responsibility should vanish, and part of responsibility, part of having a conscience, is protecting people, both individually and collectively, from scammers. Because Facebook is not a copper wire. Facebook is an interconnected network of its participant members, just like HN.
There's a big difference between censoring truths you don't agree with, and just moderating verifiable outright lies. The problem is that most people are decent human beings, and find it impossible to believe that someone would write something on the internet that is just a completely fabricated lie. Fake news hucksters take advantage of this psychological "hack" and exploit it, which should not be allowed to happen.
And as we have seen (for example with conspiracy theories), some people refuse to believe no matter how much facts you try to throw at them.
With centralized platforms we might be able to still block the fake stuff and discredit people who post junk, but in decentralized world this will be impossible. People choose who they follow and to which fact checking service (if any) they subscribe.
So, yes, I believe there should be no changing or altering content at all. I believe Facebook should act like a dumb utility instead of trying to impose themselves as a moderator over people's private lives.
FTP doesn't care if you're transferring "illegal material". Neither does TCP, neither does HTTP, neither does email. Why should Facebook be different just because it's implemented as a corporation instead of a protocol?
I think your argument with respect to Facebook attempting to be a utility is interesting, but I'm not sure how true it is, and whether that actually implies no restrictions. Utilities are generally subject to regulation. Edit to add: One can discuss what form that regulation should take and what it's limits should be, but that's different from saying there should be no limits.
There's room for discussion, but first we have to figure out exactly what where' discussing, otherwise we're just taking past each other, and accomplishing nothing.
And email is more personal, if I got email with some stupid content from someone I knew, I would probably take time to reply to show them that the mail is full of crap.
This was mostly done by computer illiterate grandpas, so I would say it was pretty easy to do.
FWD: FWD: FWD: FWD: FWD: FWD: FWD: FWD: FWD: FWD: SHOCKING! Learn this one secret trick a carpenter used to resurrect from the dead!
Just want to say majority of these fake news come from Whatsapp forwards that spreads like wildfire amongst Indians and not Facebook.Check out the subreddit r/theunkillnetwork that covers many of such forwards.
If I wanted to spread disinformation that's where I'd do it; I doubt many people would take that extra step unless it was super obvious and offensive to them. Meanwhile everyone else has bought it.
I think the relative resilience of HN to FN comes from the technical nature of the audience (high expectation of evidence on most topics) and its irrelevance to political manipulations.
It seems to me that
And that costs manpower, which would obliterate the business model of Facebook or other social media platforms.
This presents a clear legislative solution. Extend libel liability to social media platforms. Defamation law is well established. Extending it to platforms forces them to moderate, keeps things de-centralised and adds a scaling limit to boot.
A site that's a fair bit smaller but still popular enough to have trouble moderating things would be utterly screwed.
Yet, for all the good, there was also the specter of in-crowds and echo chambers. That is also manifested in Reddit.
Still, I think group-centered moderation is key. If a group is "censoring" you, go create your own group with its own rules. They might also put a limit on group size and auto-split at a given threshold.
Do you prefer moderated fake news?
Because it’s pushed to the top of algo-driven newsfeeds, and originates with people with blue checkmarks after their names
Twitter et al. apparently us the blue checkmark to indicate they have vetted the identity of that social media account, and they vouch for @ev being Mr Williams while @finkd may or may not be Mr Zuckerberg.
At least on Twitter, it has a "first-prize ribbon" look to it, as if being the blue-checked Mr Williams were an achievement superior to that of the second (red) Mr Williams and the others on down.
Not anymore - now it means Twitter endorses what they say. I mean does someone stop being themselves once they break the ToS? If not, why withdraw it?
They are making a £ v moral decision.
My intuition says yes but to such a minor extent that it cannot explain away the phenomenon.
Trying to fix it with critical thinking is difficult because it's a few steps back in the causal chain for agency. People have to want to question their news sources, but that increasingly conflicts with their need to feel part of a group when they're getting their news via gossip.
Until we instill in people a willingness to think, question, and consider, we will continue to be plagued by ignorant masses. It doesn't help when there exists an active, malicious business model designed to keep ignorant people as willfully ignorant followers. *autocorrect fix
The advent of the fact-checker platforms is the first bit. Next would be API/automation, followed by the UI/UX changes.
Like facebook is claiming to be combating it but I don't think they care that much. I can't help but feel they are combating it due to the uproar, not due to the goodness of their heart.
This just punts the problem to another layer of abstraction. Who chooses the fact checkers? Why wouldn't every "publication", valid or not, spin up a fact checker?
Seems like a political minefield with antitrust claims just waiting to happen.
With SSL, all you have to do is check if the certificate comes from a certificate authority you trust.
Do we want want certification authorities for news? (Maybe yes?)
One can argue it’s already happening to the Rohinga.
I think we as a species need to make a serious effort to educate people in really basic critical thinking skills and teach people a healthy skepticism, and how to evaluate evidence and chains of reasoning.
It’s counter to everything we’ve been teaching the masses up till now, which is to respect authority, because it’s easy to control them that way.
Without centralized mass media, that’s no longer an option. Manufactured consent will no longer be available as a means to maintain stability in society, and we’ll have to figure out how to do it with everyone able to think and learn for themselves.
"A couple of hours outside Yangon, the country’s largest city, U Aye Swe, an administrator for Sin Ma Kaw village, said he was proud to oversee one of Myanmar’s 'Muslim-free' villages, which bar Muslims from spending the night, among other restrictions.
'Kalar are not welcome here because they are violent and they multiply like crazy, with so many wives and children,' he said.
Mr. Aye Swe admitted he had never met a Muslim before, adding, 'I have to thank Facebook because it is giving me the true information in Myanmar.'"
Wait, what? I see this sort of opinion expressed a lot here and similar places, but it seems to be entirely the opposite of actual reality, at least in the USA. There has actually been a precipitous drop in respect for experts and authority, and the general teaching has been more towards "trusting one's own feelings" and "everyone's opinion is valuable" and other such "self empowerment". There are remaining reservoirs of trust amongst the public for certain classes of experts, but even then it's common that the public doesn't actually understand what the opinion of those experts is (ie., global warming denialists amongst the public may genuinely think scientific opinion is divided).
In modern society what I think what might be strongly helpful for every citizen beyond a base level of knowledge (like probability and statistics, economics and political theory) and their own specific area of expertise is not general "skepticism" so much as more training in thinking about how to evaluate what authorities are trustworthy. It's impossible to move through a world where the total sum of human knowledge is going into or well into a J-curve without extensive use Argument From Authority, which remember is not a logical fallacy so much as the weakest but also most scalable form of argument. Any tech person should be very familiar with this because it's ubiquitous in our field, we have to depend on trust up and down the stack, but that doesn't mean there aren't ways to test that. We use trees and webs of trust, sample verification, transparency, and so forth. That same sort of thinking though applies elsewhere.
It's not about "control", respecting good authority is critically important. What's needed is to help people with techniques to figure out what is a "good authority", how to continually reevaluate that as necessary, and how to hold authority to account and how to swap out mistaken or degraded choices with superior ones.
My point was that teaching people to just trust what they read has lead them astray. They used to trust the 'mass media' who largely hewed to the 'the establishment' line. Now that the mass media isn't the only source of information for most people, they'll believe basically any nonsense.
People should be skeptical of the establishment media. They should be skeptical of everything. What you need to teach people is how to properly apply skepticism to figure out what might or might not actually be true, and why.
They did kind of bring this on themselves, too much “fake news” of their own. A scientist doesn’t know any more about politics than you or I, an economist knows even less. People should be wary about trying to transfer credibility from one domain to an unrelated one.
So, better education.
Stop using education as a way to cement classes.
Make sure every child goes to school. Pay teachers well. Involve the academic elite in the governance of the education system.
That right there is a "fake news" in itself. Both sides of the aisle has to be blamed for the situation. As much there is agenda from the right wing, there has also been concentrated effort from the left wing too.
The probably won't. They shouldn't kid themselves that they are making the world a better place though.
So my guess is the future consists of more "harmonizing" globally. Which I don't like, largely because it's opportunity for corruption, but the cost of that might ultimately be less than the cost of the current free for all.
In some ways I feel like we are living in the twilight of a form of savage freedom. Which I personally relish because it's what I'm used to.
I imagine for some the transition will be similar to what happened to Aboriginal peoples throughout history.
"You mean I have to wear pants and show up at 8AM for school every day? Are you crazy? That's horrid! Why would anyone do that? I certainly won't be!".
"Yes, but then you'll have all the food you can eat and will never be cold!".
"Eh, I don't know. I'd rather do what I want and go hungry sometimes. No deal!"
"Ok, now you are causing problems for others who want to have all the food _they_ can eat. Look here, now see this gun?"
I guess that's cheaper than hiring additional moderators, or figuring out how to temper this issue with technological solutions - but shouldn't this be a big flag to Facebook that there is indeed a huge problem?
So I believe that apathy or this lack of/incorrect context will have very significant consequences.
I just hope that people will research the long and ongoing history of censorship and propaganda and try to see the correct connection with "fake news" and the suggestions for suppressing it.