If you saw The Great Hack on Netflix, you would think that Facebook is a little more aware of the games that people play with their data and the influence that this has on political choices. It is in itself also busy, for example, by screening posts for fake news. But how it handles political fake news, that could be better. From January to October this year no less than 159 million fake news were shown on Facebook.
Action group Avaaz has this revealed in a report, based on the hundred most popular Facebook posts that have been misleadingly flagged by fact-checking companies (independent of Facebook). Now 100 posts is a lot, but the fact that these have been displayed 158.9 million times and has received a like or response 8.9 million times is shocking.
Now, a part of those likes can also come from people who realize that it is fake news. For example, the “news” that Donald Trump’s grandfather was a pimp was, of course, quite hilarious. But the moment it is said in such a message that the father of the American president is a member of the Ku Klux Klan, it becomes more difficult.
Fake news is very negative in most cases. Only 9 percent of the reporting was positive. The fake news is more often about the Democrats (62 percent) than the Republicans (29 percent). We will not make any assumptions about this, but the fact is that there is an enormous amount of fake news on the social platform. Fake news that Facebook can do considerably more about, according to Avaaz. And Avaaz is not alone in this. The fact checkers who check Facebook have already indicated that the Zuckerberg platform is not open enough.
Although fake news will become even more important in 2020 in view of the presidential elections in America, the focus is already on this year. Instagram has just launched an option to raise fake news. In addition, YouTube earlier this year mistakenly viewed the streams with the Notre Dame fire for fake news. It is therefore not only complicated to address what is fake, but also what is not fake.