Facebook Is Not Responsible For Donald Trump

Republican U.S. presidential candidate businessman Donald Trump poses before the start of the 2016 U.S. Republican presidential candidates debate held by CNBC in Boulder, Colorado, October 28, 2015. REUTERS/Rick Wilking - RTX1TPV9

Everyone seems to be wondering who should be blamed for Donald Trump becoming President and one of the chief targets in this public outcry is Facebook. Donald Trump has himself accepted that Facebook and Twitter were pretty significant in helping him win and President Obama also weighed in this week.

The bone of contention here seems to be that Facebook did not do enough to check the sharing and spread of ‘misinformation’ and false articles. The outcry has resulted in facebook promising to make changes and add some tools that will help users flag fake news stories.

Mark Zuckerburg himself has said that the company will also be involving journalists and taking some cues to them about the verification of information. He did, however, make a very important point at the announcement and said that he did not believe facebook should be the ‘arbiters of truth’.

It is important to understand that this is not an easy problem to solve and Zuckerburg has hit the nail on the head when he says it is not facebook’s job to verify every piece of information being shared on its platform. The people themselves have to be able to read something and then judge if the information is accurate or not. Lying, gossiping or just embellishing information is human behavior that is observable in all forums and facebook is one of the biggest social forum of them all.

The other part of the problem is that facebook itself does not want to become known as the place where you cannot trust anything that you read (that is already true to some extent though) and it also does not want its users to be taken advantage of by unscrupulous websites that are serving fake articles through its ad network.

This last problem should be relatively easy to solve but the others are not going to go away any time soon. When users will have the ability to flag an article they think is fake, it will become a war of sorts to flag articles that favor the ‘other side’.

Which brings us back to the root problem in the first place. There is no question that society is divided and a large majority of the people are unable to see the other point of view in moderation and that is a problem that facebook cannot fix or be blamed for.

 

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