There are serious concerns over a social media giant's plans to debunk spurious news stories. And many are puzzled about the real agenda at play.
You don’t need to worship at the altar of George Orwell to see where this is going. Under tremendous assault from the American establishment media over the proliferation of what they define as ’fake news’ on the platform, internet behemoth Facebook has finally caved in and agreed to regulate content. While, in principle, the concept sounds relatively noble, the manner in which it's proposed to implement it merits many questions.
Among them are the continuing dangers of American domination of the world wide web and the liberal bias of that country’s popular press. But most worrying is the uncharted territory we are entering. Because there has never been a media portal as dominant as Facebook. In the past, big broadcasters or newsagent chains might have enjoyed outsized influence, but Mark Zuckerbeg’s firm is an effective monopoly.
Whereas papers have always been curated by editors, their power was limited by the sheer number of competitors in every national market. And the more different they were, the better for society in general. However, there is only one Facebook, and its power, in this regard, is extraordinary.
Of course, another big problem here is that one person’s “fake news” could be another’s truth. And that’s before we mention how some of the outlets pressuring Facebook are often guilty of making up stories themselves.