Facebook’s Fake News? -_-

First of all, let’s cut people some slack.

People are upset after the elections. I get it. But that doesn’t mean that we put the ‘closest possible target’ in the line of fire.

There are numerous accusations that Facebook promoted fake news and that played a part in the US elections results. (Seriously?)

Let’s get the basics straight – Facebook is not a media company. It’s a tech company – that connects all kinds of publishers to the audience that is most interested in consuming that content. (Read: level playing field)

How does the Facebook algorithm work? Well, the algorithm shows you content that your friends are sharing that you are most likely to engage with. So if you dislike a certain political party, you will either see negative news about that party or positive news about the party you support. It’s really as logical as that.

I just don’t understand how Facebook landed in this line of fire? And for no fault, at all?

Sure, there are things that can be improved –

  1. Hiring journalists to vet through the news feed
  2. Adding a feature to switch off personalised content
  3. Or even – segmenting friends based on their affinity to create a basket of opinions

Fancy stuff. Well, sounds great.

But here is a reality check:

We read what we read, because we make a choice. The onus is on us to make informed decisions based on information we gather from multiple sources and our relative weightage of the authenticity of those sources. If we can’t be cognisant of multiple sources of media, to make our own choices – then well, well. Let’s stop blaming media, and start blaming ourselves.

And for god’s sake – Stop reading the Onion. It makes my eyes tear up.


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