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Political Editors / May 3, 2018

Facebook Promises to Police News ‘Trustworthiness’

Social media giant plans to create a system designed to limit “fake news.” What could go wrong?

In yet another bad idea announced by Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg, the social media giant will be creating a new system to screen news outlets for their “trustworthiness,” promoting or suppressing those sites based upon their scores. What could possibly go wrong? Zuckerberg explained that his company would invest “billions of dollars in a combination of artificial intelligence and tens of thousands of human moderators to keep both fakes news and deliberate propaganda at bay, especially in elections.” Clearly, Zuckerberg is comfortable furthering the Democrat narrative that “fake news” had an undue influence on the outcome of the 2016 election. It couldn’t possibly have been that Hillary Clinton lost because she was a terrible candidate… but we digress.

In one sense it is entirely understandable that Zuckerberg is trotting out this “news referee” plan. He was dragged before Congress and blasted for failing to protect Americans’ data — data that Facebook users freely gave to a public social media platform. But leftists’ gripe against Zuckerberg has little to do with concerns over protecting user data. No, their beef is the fact that the social media platform was used to spread political speech with which they disagreed. That was Facebook’s true “crime,” and that explains Zuckerberg’s motives here.

Now Zuckerberg is spending “billions of dollars” to develop technology to appease leftist sensibilities. And while those invited to the party represent news organizations across the political spectrum, the obvious question remains, who ultimately gets to determine what news is deemed “trustworthy” and what is not? Won’t the system devolve into its current tribes? Of course it will. Any attempt by Facebook to regulate speech will only incur charges of bias, and justifiably so.

As Jazz Shaw of Hot Air pointedly notes, “Facebook is basically a giant, digital corkboard with a lot of fancy tools and toys for community members to post things on. The manufacturer of the corkboard isn’t responsible for what random idiots pin to it. Asking them to police what gets posted and make qualitative judgements about the value of the content was always going to turn into a disaster. If you want to hold people accountable for posting fake news or propaganda, let the community hold the account owners accountable. Asking Zuckerberg to do it? This way lies madness.”

The more Facebook chooses to go down this speech-policing road, the worse the social media giant becomes. Making more rules limiting speech will only foster greater distrust and suspicion, not “trustworthiness.”

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