On Wednesday there was a quiet announcement that Facebook begins fact-checking political memes and videos in an effort to root out fake news. Facebook made a blog post that the efforts are part of their plan to review “ongoing election efforts.”
“By now, everyone knows the story: during the 2016 US election, foreign actors tried to undermine the integrity of the electoral process,” Guy Rosen, vice president of product management at Facebook, wrote. “Their attack included taking advantage of open online platforms — such as Facebook — to divide Americans, and to spread fear, uncertainty and doubt.” Rosen said although the clock cannot be turned back, “we are all responsible for making sure the same kind of attack [on] our democracy does not happen again.” He said Facebook is taking its role in the effort “very, very seriously.”
Facebook’s chief security officer, Alex Stamos, made his best effort to define fake news:
- Fake identities– this is when an actor conceals their identity or takes on the identity of another group or individual;
- Fake audiences– so this is using tricks to artificially expand the audience or the perception of support for a particular message;
- False facts – the assertion of false information; and
- False narratives– which are intentionally divisive headlines and language that exploit disagreements and sow conflict. This is the most difficult area for us, as different news outlets and consumers can have completely different on what an appropriate narrative is even if they agree on the facts.
They can say what they want, but is this any different than the past actions of Facebook? More of the same: trying to make sense of how President Trump was elected. The fact is, the people spoke.