How serious is Facebook about fake news?
According to the BBC, Facebook has removed over 500 pages and accounts involved with peddling fake news that they say is linked to Russian state groups.
Let’s leave aside the not trivial fact that there are over 500 fake news sites with over 900,000 followers out there spreading lies and vitriol around.
Let’s also leave aside the fact that all that fake news is spread through messages and ads on a platform owned by a for profit company that makes money from each one.
Oh yeah and for now let’s also ignore the fact that the for profit company is Facebook, recently exposed to be one of the most dishonest, exploitative and ruthless organizations ever.
What is really going on?
Facebook wants you to think they are serious about controlling the spread of fake news. Especially given all the scandals of 2018 like Cambridge Analytica and alleged Russian interference in the 2016 US Presidential election, possibly by some of these same “news” organizations, Facebook wants you to think fakes news will soon be a thing of the past.
They are in damage control mode and are trying desperately to stay ahead of Buzzfeed and The New York Times in an effort to keep users around for breaking news. Facebook needs to appear pro-active in their efforts to secure your news feed.
Even this is a red herring, a distraction from what is really happening.
Facebook does not want you asking about why you do not have control over what you see in your feed. As long as Facebook users rely on Facebook to root out fake news, Facebook remains in control and the exploitation can continue.
The moment you wake up and realize that your data has value and that it is currently in the hands of people you do not trust, you may start demanding real change.
Losing control over your data is what Facebook is really worried about.