Facebook leader Mark Zuckerberg has made moves to look like he battling fake news, but his project is doomed to fail. First, Facebook is explicitly not banning fake news, nor is it banning individuals known to be 100% fake news purveyors. Second, Facebook has brought in “experts” to examine news to see if it is fake that are, in turn, Koch funded right wing/libertarian tools.
I’ve seen, and in some cases, been part of various efforts by various on line entities to clean up fake news or, more often, anti-science news or activism. What I’ve found in every case is that there is an enormous perceived shift in the bottom line for on line entities that keep out fake news vs. those that ignore it, or even encourage it.
In fact, I suspect that people who are more likely to believe, purvey, or defend fake news are also more likely to be ripped off by unscrupulous retailers. The scruples of the business are one thing, the profit levels are another. Facebook makes its money off of retailers making profits. Facebook is going to be dragged out of the fake news business kicking and screaming, if ever.
If you are like me, you live in a Facebook bubble. I do not maintain “friend” status with purveyors of fake news. The people on my Facebook feed are generally much more interested in the truth. So, it is hard to see the fake news problem as very important.
But there are all these other people who also live in a Facebook bubble. Their bubble is full of fake news. Their friends include voters, influencers, parents, maybe even teachers, who are living in that fake news bubble as well. This is a real problem. Facebook fakeness is the proximate reason that Donald Trump is president. I don’t think Mark Zuckerberg is taking that seriously, and I assume this is because he is biased by the prospect of a huge shift in profits with vs. without the heavy spice of alt-reality in the feed.