More bumph from the media crapping on about Facebook.
My point is that while Australian news media often takes a political stance in favour of one party and against others, that stance still steadfastly avoids misrepresenting facts.
But then there is Facebook. I appreciate that it’s been only 15 years since the social media site was created. That’s the blink of an eye compared to the two centuries that news media has had in this country to formulate their policies and approaches. Nonetheless, the last two weeks have seen the social media company at its influential and irresponsible worst.
Facebook produces news like the media does? That inference is itself, fake news.
So what is the problem?
The trouble started 10 days ago with a heated exchange on Capitol Hill between Democratic Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Mark Zuckerberg. The politician asked Facebook’s founder about the company’s policy of not fact- checking political advertising. Would Facebook allow political ads falsely claiming a Republican candidate had supported the Green New Deal environmental policy even when that was manifestly untrue?
“I think probably,” was Zuckerberg’s uncertain response.
Two things – anything Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez suggests can be dismissed as a Trojan horse. More importantly though do we really want yet another intermediary telling us what we can and cannot see, think, say, or do?
I think the answer, clearly, is “No”.
Now it is true that politicians lie. Who knew? It also seems to me that the appropriate group to determine whether politicians have lied or not is the electorate. Now I’m happy to concede that organisation can, if they choose, decide whether or not to run advertisements or types of advertisements – but be clear, that is itself a political decision. When doing so, that organisation has picked a side.
Facebook deciding whether or not to censor political advertising is a business decision. Censorship is expensive and Facebook would soon be up its eyeballs responding to complaints and being asked to conduct fact checks and the like.