The rumors are that Facebook intends on screening out what it considers to be “fake news.” I hope Facebook investors are ready for the endless controversies which occur once Facebook starts into the news production business. That’s what screening stories entails. Facebook will no longer be an impartial medium by which people use to spread messages. Instead, by screening out “fake news” they will take the role of producing news. That is a huge mistake.
There will be no benefit to investors. The number of people who get news from Facebook will not increase. Most people already do. It will just alienate half of The country when they make editorial decisions about highly controversial topics.
right now, Facebook’s valuation is solely based upon how many people use it. when I read a story that pisses me off, I get angry at the asshole who wrote it. I don’t blame Facebook anymore than I do blame Google for a objectionable content on a website I find on its search engine.
however, when Facebook begins to determine which stories it believes to be newsworthy, they begin to be a news production company. suddenly a story that pisses me off makes me angry not only at the asshole who wrote it, but Facebook’s editorial team who decided it was worthy of my attention. The value of Facebook suddenly becomes determined not only on how many people use its platform, but how many people trust it’s editorial judgment.
Consider CNN. It’s ratings might be high, but I am so angry at CNN’s coverage of Trump, I have a very low tendency to buy anything advertised by companies supporting that news organization.
Does Facebook want to be a technology company or a news production company? There’s a huge difference. Facebook was founded on the idea of openness and free expression. Now, it might take the role of the digital big brother to which I’m sure we will all trust completely in its impartiality to determine which stories are news worthy and which ones aren’t, right?
Perhaps people just need to have a tiny bit of common sense and take it upon themselves to determine if what they read is true or not. Wow, what a shocking idea! Ordinary people having an obligation to determine if the words flashing before their eyeballs are true or not.