Op-Ed: Facebook vs fake news — Why it will work well

Posted Dec 24, 2017 by Paul Wallis
Facebook, not too happy about its status as Troll Heaven for fake news, has decided to stop flagging disputed news and start verifying articles with a clear indicator. That’s a lot simpler than trying to chase every fake new event worldwide.
Facebook draws its wealth from millions of accounts across Europe by being based in Ireland
Facebook draws its wealth from millions of accounts across Europe by being based in Ireland
Justin TALLIS, AFP/File
The new approach has some depth to it, too. This idea takes fact checking to a much more efficient, and workable, level. Critics of Facebook have been pretty vocal, accusing the company of not doing enough. The question is just as much about what’s “enough”, as well as dealing with the fake news issues.
To clarify:
1. Chasing every item of fake news is simply inefficient and way too slow to keep up. By the time you’ve checked one fake, 10 others may have taken its place. The global fake news feed is continuous.
2. Verification is a good way for Facebook to align with real news. What’s fake and what’s not will be pretty obvious.
3. A lot of fake news has a major weak point; it’s never covered by real news sources like Thomson Reuters, AP, AFP, etc. There’s none of the “collateral” information which real news has. Facts have pedigrees; fake news doesn’t.
I’ve seen some truly outlandish stuff which sources from obscure/obscene troll sites and shows up nowhere else on any kind of search. Verification basically checks iterations, and that can be done at lightning speed. What comes from where is a very good indicator.
Another, very strong point about this approach is that it can’t be obstructed by political bluster and babble. If you happen to have a fake government, (OK, so I found a global sitting duck subject) there’s not a damn thing it can do about verification.
Fake people, fake news and fake governments are like all liars. They can’t really deliver the depth and degrees of factuality to sustain their lies. This is another version of what I’m calling “blockchain journalism” as proposed by Wiki Tribune – There’s an incredible volume of scrutiny, not just ad hoc/selective scrutiny.
At a time when governments of all persuasions and corporations seem to feel that spinning and withholding information is OK, verification could be a killer. It can deliver hard evidence, backed up by evidence standards. Fake news can’t do that.
Look forward to a troll-rage-quit in future. The fake news gravy train can be derailed very easily this way.
Now, if someone would just blockchain those damn political bots….?