BP 1: Fake News and Who’s Responsibility is it?

Link to the article.

“Fake news” is a term that has been pretty hot lately, especially due to the 2016 elections and some propaganda articles that gave misinformation to unsuspecting users online. My question is, who should take responsibility for these misleading articles? Should it be the companies that produce them, or the sites that host them?

Personally, I think that any content publisher that passes off it’s false content like it’s real shouldn’t be allowed to stay in business. However the world isn’t fair, and the people who get blamed are the websites that host them.

This article specifically mentions how Facebook and Google are taking actions to prevent fake news on their websites after being called out. Google is dropping AdSense support for websites that they deem provide false information as facts. Facebook is following along the same lines, but both companies are making very little progress. So far, the only way for them to determine if a site is spreading fake news or not is by flagging and reviewing them on a case by case basis.

What blows my mind is not only that people are blaming these websites for spreading fake news, but that they also want them to “fix” it. Don’t get me wrong, I want websites that intentionally spread fake news and misleading information to get their funds taken away, I’m not arguing that.

What I’m arguing is that Google and Facebook shouldn’t be the ones deciding what “fake news” is and isn’t. If they are given that power, then who knows if they will abuse it or not. Eventually it will become an ethical dilemma where we see Google and Facebook blocking content under certain presumptions, such as fake news, but in reality it’s because of some other reason. At that point, we then have to do an ethics investigation into why these companies deem what websites are good and what aren’t.

I want fake news sites gone as much as anyone else does, but if we’re going to do it, we should make sure some sort of ethics committee is set up ahead of time before companies like Google and Facebook start determining what is and isn’t “real”.


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