The Politics of Fake News

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While Google and Facebook fight fake news, people on the sidelines are debating whether they're taking the right course of action. The SEM Post has an article about why Google shouldn't remove fake news, which is well written and worth a read.

The Cliffs Notes are:

  • For an example, Holocaust denial, search volume is actually very low.
  • By providing sources for the query, "Did the Holocaust happen?" a denial skew is, in some ways, just answering the query.
  • Because there is a lot of content about Holocaust denial and somewhat less content refuting Holocaust denial.
  • Fake news should stay in SERPs because if you want to debunk a fake news story, you need to find that story. If it gets removed, all we're left with is the rumor and no way to address it directly.
  • The creation of content that refutes fake news is a better solution than the removal of fake news stories from SERPs (e.g. we need more content that directly refutes the idea that the Holocaust was a hoax.)
  • Removing content like this could set a bad precedent.
  • Google already has very strict guidelines for when content can be removed and they should be stuck to.

The "slippery slope" part of the argument is a little weak but I think the rest is strong. Just one side of the argument! If you know of a good article discussing the other side, make a post or share in the comments!

Comments

Who gets to decide what is "real" and what is "fake"?

Most mainstream news is one-sided propaganda for each of two polarized positions. The reason so-called "fake" news is gaining traction is how ridiculous the major sites have gotten. For evidence of this, just look at Trump coverage. 

 

Are we really willing to let the media owned by the few dictate reality for the rest of us? While making it disappear as "fake" might work for a while, I am starting to see new social networks based on blockchain technology that they may not be able to control. We'll see what happens. 

 

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