From John McDuling:
As news of the horrific gun attack in Las Vegas unfolded earlier this week, millions of internet users flocked to Google and Facebook to find out what happened. But in the immediate aftermath of the event – the worst mass shooting in modern United States history – widespread confusion was apparent online.
Phony reports from a message board wrongly identifying the gunman were prominent on Google’s ‘Top News’ page in US, and also made their way into Facebook’s algorithms, The Washington Post reported.
….Facebook earlier this year outlined a series of steps designed to curtail fake news, including pledges to employ more human fact checkers.
….Yet Nick Enfield, a professor of linguistics at the University of Sydney, who has studied fake news as part of the university’s Post Truth Initiative, doesn’t think fact checking is going to cut it.
The volume of information is just too big to deal with, he reckons. It is “just too weak a solution, because the internet is an open resource,” he says.
Proliferation of fake news is a serious threat to social media. Fact checking appears unlikely to succeed. The alternative may be some form of moderated content, with users given more freedom to post when they have proven their credibility. And better classification of posters, with satire sites like @DarthPutinKGB clearly labeled as such, while news site classification should require an established track record and regular review by an external editorial panel.