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Techdirt Podcast Episode 143: No Easy Answers: Facebook & The Election

from the it's-never-so-simple dept

I don't think I need to say much to introduce this week's topic — we're all well aware of the conversation about Facebook's role in the presidential election, including questions of filter bubbles, fake news, foreign influence, and so on and so on. As is always the case in situations like this, a lot of people seem to be looking for easy answers, and easy places to point fingers of blame, so in this week's episode we're discussing why it's just not that simple.

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Filed Under: election, podcast, politics
Companies: facebook


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  • icon
    crade (profile), 7 Nov 2017 @ 3:07pm

    In my humble opinion, we are missing the issue here. We already have central authorities on truth that people have earned people's trust.

    The problem here is not that there is misinformation being spread, the problem is that there is systematic controlled effort to interfere in the election and control election results.

    The solution is for your government to have an intelligence agency that effectively monitors for attempts to infiltrate your elections and gets in front of them. In this case, expose the interference, either publicly or to the companies so that they can act on it.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 7 Nov 2017 @ 3:48pm

      Re:

      The flaw in this argument is that the government isn't a central authority on truth. If what they say isn't backed up with public, irrefutable evidence, it's worthless.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Anonymous Anonymous Coward (profile), 7 Nov 2017 @ 4:41pm

        Re: Re:

        The problem with your analysis is what 'truth' they can 'create' via various and known methodologies. The 'truth' is what one makes the 'truth' to be, see 'fake news' and the ability (or inability) to combat that. Irrefutable evidence is solely dependent upon the 'explainer' of any 'evidence', see prosecutors convicting innocent people over and over again.

        Irrefutable? What is that? The police say x happened, the video says y happened, and it is up to the defense to prove them wrong, which is entirely contrary to the concept of innocent until proven guilty.

        The government is actually a central authority on what they say they are a central authority on. Whether we believe them is another matter entirely.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        crade (profile), 7 Nov 2017 @ 6:14pm

        Re: Re:

        how is that a problem? back it up with public irrefutable evidence. You don't need someone inscrutable, you just need someone who people will give the benefit of the doubt when they make an announcement regarding national security.. If you don't have that you have bigger problems than Russia :)

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 8 Nov 2017 @ 3:47am

    Its education, stoopid

    Hey, governments! Now that there is a global low entry cost communication medium, your citizens need to know how to assess the reliability of the information which is available to them via this medium.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    mermaldad (profile), 8 Nov 2017 @ 4:35am

    Not Perfect, But...

    It seems to me that there could be an algorithm that polls users about ads, news stories, and links to form a consensus of whether the item is true. Then the algorithm could frame the ad based on this rating. Everyone is still able to click on it if they want to, but at least they have been warned. The algorithm could weight the opinions of users based on their past history to reduce the chance of errors due to someone gaming the system or general ignorance.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Leigh Beadon (profile), 9 Nov 2017 @ 9:37am

      Re: Not Perfect, But...

      Just imagine for a moment that system put to work on, say, stories about climate change (to choose one of about a million similarly divisive topics).

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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