'Mark Zuckerberg is considering hiring human “editors” to hand-pick “high-quality news” to show Facebook users in an effort to combat fake news — and no, it’s not an April Fool’s joke.
In his ongoing quest to satisfy the political censorship demands of Western governments, Zuckerberg told German publishing house Axel Springer that he is considering the introduction of a dedicated news section for the social media platform, which would potentially use humans to curate the news from “broadly trusted” outlets. Zuckerberg said Facebook might also start paying news publishers to include their articles in this dedicated news section in an effort to reward “high-quality, trustworthy content.”
With social media censorship already at worryingly high levels, who will decide which outlets are “broadly trusted” and which are untrustworthy? What qualifies one outlet as more “trusted” than another? Will Zuckerberg make the criteria public?
Fresh from the anti-climactic Russiagate saga and long-awaited Mueller report, will Facebook penalize all the outlets that incessantly pushed the Trump/Russia “collusion” narrative and hyped fake “bombshells” for more than two years sans evidence, or will the likes of MSNBC and Rachel Maddow automatically earn “trusted” status? The answer to that question is blindingly obvious.
Facebook’s efforts to combat fake news are reminiscent of other recent efforts from apps like NewsGuard, the US government-linked app which “rates” news websites according to their “trustworthiness” and, unsurprisingly, targets alternative media sites which do not strictly adhere to establishment narratives. If recent history is any indicator, Facebook’s own efforts to rate news will also fall directly in line with US government objectives.
The social media giant has been rightly accused of blatant censorship on multiple occasions in recent memory — and there doesn’t seem a way that a group of Facebook-hired editors could be trusted to curate the news for anyone, unless it took some serious steps to address its various biases. In fact, even if it did that, isn’t hiring human editors with their own political biases and preferences to sift through all the available news and select the stories deemed fit for public consumption just an Orwellian idea in the first place?
Facebook should probably already be aware of the pitfalls when it comes to hiring human editors for such purposes. During the 2016 US presidential election, the company’s solution to political bias in its trending news section was to fire the human editors responsible for it. Maybe Zuckerberg thinks this time it will be different? Or maybe, and more likely, this is just another PR effort to placate the pro-censorship crowd on Capitol Hill.'
Read more: Facebook plans to curate ‘high quality’ news for its users from ‘trusted outlets’
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