2. How Facebook could dodge fake news
Experts argue Facebook could do a number of things to reduce fake news, but almost every option could hit its bottom line or would challenge CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s long-term vision for the company, Axios' Sara Fischer reports:
- Sources say that Zuckerberg prefers to manage the fake news problem through rational, careful experiments and modest changes. He often sees this as a P.R. problem, not a foundational one.
- But other Facebook executives are pushing for more radical changes, realizing the free-speech zeal that brought them fame and riches is causing constant and growing problems.
The most drastic changes Facebook could make to its policies include:
- Removing news from the platform altogether.
- Pre-approving content before letting users post it.
- Removing all monetization efforts around news.
Some experts suggest more realistic options:
1. Ramp up its enforcement regime: Facebook has committed to hiring 20,000 moderators by the end of the year to help monitor content for fake news and misinformation. Many critics argue 20,000 people could not realistically monitor the billions of photos, posts, and videos uploaded to the platform daily.
2. Draw tighter lines around what's considered harmful content.
3. Lower the threshold of removal. Facebook won’t publicly say how many pieces of nefarious content a Page or person needs to post before being removed, out of fear that it could lead bad actors to abuse the system.
4. Use stricter authentication of users: Currently, Facebook requires that users must be over the age of 13, and it requires users to use their “everyday names” and valid email accounts to set up a profile. It also requires advertisers to have further credentials, like mailing addresses.
5. Remove more financial incentives for spreading fake news.
6. More clearly show when content comes from an established brand: Facebook has made minor adjustments, like adding news brands logos to stories.
7. Separate news from social media.
The big picture: Critics and the media are beginning to take a slightly more empathetic view towards Facebook's tricky position.
- Case-in-point: A number of media and tech journalists, like TechCrunch's Josh Constine, The Washington Post's Margaret Sullivan and The Information's Jessica Lessin have recently come out in support of Facebook avoiding broad censorship of viewpoints on the platform.
The bottom line: Facebook may not be able to do much more than it has already tried, unless it makes a drastic change to its business and long-term vision.