Fake news does not always come from a central sources that is intent on misleading the masses. This is, however, no excuse for inaction on behalf of web giants like Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB). To simply step aside while their algorithms push misinformation onto user timelines is careless. The world’s leading social network understands its role harboring fake news. Facebook now promises more efforts to clamp down.
A lot of people don’t pay much attention to company mission statements. Any major tweaks here or there can easily go unnoticed. That is not as likely if you’re as popular as Facebook Inc. The globe’s number 1 in online social platforms recently made a few changes to theirs. In acknowledging the platforms that it provides for socializing and opinion building, Facebook is changing its mission.
A new mission for Facebook Inc
Uncle Ben said it right. With great power comes great responsibility. Facebook has probably mulled over those words or some variation of them. In the midst of the widely publicized fake news epidemic, the company decided to make a few changes to the way things are done.
Facebook Inc (FB) went public five years ago. The company’s mission statement was clear, encouraging and driven. It was to make the world more connected and open. That seems naive now with the benefit of experience and hindsight. It probably didn’t contemplate the vast social responsibility that would come with its growth. Now with over 2 billion regular users under its belt, the web giant seems more aware of its social duties.
The company gets a lot of negativity flung its way. I guess it’s mostly just people doing what they want, but we all need someone to blame, right? In that context, Facebook Inc has come under fire for promoting terrorist agendas, encouraging hate speech and feeding mob mentalities. This has a lot to do with the way its platform curates content that is “most relevant” to the specific users.
How Facebook Inc spreads fake news
While Facebook made the world more connected, it provided a world of warm places where people can settle down, read and echo the same ideas as everyone else. Everyday users of Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) platforms are fed news and opinions that already support their beliefs, and very little that suggests otherwise.
Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) looks to be trying to limit all of this. At its first ever Community Summit, the company announced a changed mission statement. Mark Zuckerberg now wishes to “bring the world closer together” in addition to empowering people through online communities. This means Facebook wants to push people toward more common ground. Because, people can easily expose themselves to bias, “alternative facts” and opinions. In that, they can easily overlook the truth as well.
I think Zuckerberg says it best. “People share more information, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that understanding is shared,” the CEO said at the summit. “That doesn’t mean the perspectives people have are getting closer together.” Facebook now wants to help users connect over the things that they share “before exposing [themselves] to debates that are really important to have productively.”
The common ground effect will come from encouraging people to join more groups that are relevant to them, not just their opinions. Facebook will implement changes that promote joining of groups. It will also simplify the process of creating and run a group. This probably mean the admin part of groups will be lightened. Tasks like accepting requests to join, managing comments and content will should become easier.
The company is also setting up ways to flag hate speech and consequences for those who post offensive content. Facebook wants to ensure that every user has feels a sense of “purpose and community.” But what does mean for fake news?
Is this the end of fake news on Facebook (FB)?
Measure to tackle fake news are nothing new at Facebook Inc. However, the company’s efforts really intensified in the wake of the US elections. It has since set various plans aimed at limiting the spread of fabricated or overly biased reporting. The company has gone into ventures with fact-checking entities, tightened down on extremist accounts and even monitors flagged conveyors of fake news.
The recent mission change means users gain more exposure in order to find common ground, and share points of views. However, Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) can only do so much without going all Stalin with its platform. Users also need to be more vigilant on the site and trust that the groups they join are well-intentioned and run by trustworthy people.
A Facebook intense focus on groups is imminent. This will not end hate speech on the site, though, or stop users from stumbling onto content they find offensive. It will, however, grant users with perspective while the company does what it can to eliminate misuse of its platform.