Fake news on Facebook has plagued Americans on both the left and the right since the presidential election.
Some think Facebook allowed fake stories get into people’s news feeds allowing Donald Trump to get elected. Others believe Facebook allowed equally fake stories to malign Trump to appear in users feeds. Regardless of the politics, it is clear that the social network has a serious problem regarding the way it allows news to appear on its site.
Facebook is now trying to get a handle on its fake news problem by introducing AI programs to shut down links that look like click-bait or to censor videos that contain explicit violence. The company already uses AI programs to organize the way individual user’s news feeds appear, but managing which news is real and which news is fake would require much more sophisticated AI.
There is also the possibility that Facebook will err and shut down links to sites that contain real news. Part of the reason why the social network has not introduced AI yet is that users fear the company could use the programming to shut down legitimate news sites that it does not like. These fears come from a scandal earlier this year when Facebook admitted to allowing its trending news team to fabricate hot topics and to suppress stories that did not conform to the company’s agenda.
In another instance from this week, it appears that a Chrome plugin that looked like an official Facebook feature started labeling real news sites as untrustworthy in what looks like a real Facebook alert. (It wasn’t.) Instances like these make Facebook look bad — and make for rich irony — but they prove a point about how you should treat news in the digital age.
Do not trust any news until you have read it from several sources, and never just read your Facebook feed for news.
Body image via Medium.