Facebook’s new fact-checking system is having no effect on fake news

Recent efforts by Facebook to stop the proliferation of fake news is having no effect according to a respected fact-checking organisation.

“Fake news is flying thick and fast,” said Brooke Binkowski, managing editor of Snopes, a highly respected fact-checking site partnering with Facebook to review content flagged by users as potentially false.

The Guardian asked Ms Binkowski if she believes Facebook’s new system is having an effect on false news through the use of tags, and she replied: “I honestly can’t tell.”

There is even anecdotal evidence that a fake news warning by Facebook can cause increased shared of an fake news article.

Despite this, most partner organisation believes the initiative is a step in the right direction.

Xana O’Neill, managing editor of ABC News Digital, said she believes the process is having a positive impact, but adds that Facebook is refusing to provide actual data to support the initiative.

Read more | See all posts

“Google and Facebook will fall if their advertising dominance continues”

Google and Facebook’s dominance may destroy tradition news media, but the pair’s dominance will just as likely take them down also says media commentator, Rick Waghorn.

Plus the former newspaper journalist and founder of the Adiply advertising platform believes the dominant two are not respecting advertisers – which could make them turn away in droves when they tire of the complexity, lack of control, and likelihood that their adverts will appear alongside fake news and unsavoury content such as the views of terrorist groups.

Waghorn says the two US tech giants now control more than 90 per cent of advertising income in the US and will control 71 per cent of the UK advert market by 2021.

This, he says, “has everyone from Rupert Murdoch down, running for their nearest government minister in a bid to clip the wings of Mark Zuckerberg, Sergey Brin and friends.”

“But state intervention, as currently sought, is to my mind invariably the last act of the damned,” he says.

“The fact that Facebook and Google are, between them, bringing 3,500 hi-tech jobs to London this year makes their hand ever stronger when it comes to the shaping of policy with regard to the hard-pressed legacy publishers by an incoming government.”

But the former Oxford history scholar says history can be valuable in helping predict where this dominance will lead.

“Complex societies as the Mayans, the Chacoans, the Romans and, by implications, the Facebooks, collapse quite naturally when the costs of being a member of said society come to out-weight the original rewards,” says Waghorn.

He argues that when no-one else can create income in the digital advertising market, a tipping point will be reached where those that can be seen to be controlling the entire income stream become targets for toppling, and campaigns such as boycotts ensue.

“If Mark and Sergey don’t heed the lessons of history; don’t heed the warning shot that Press Gazette has fired across their bows and return to a more equitable share of the digital spoils, they will fall,” says Waghorn, who points to the world’s biggest advertiser, Proctor & Gamble, as an indicative scenario.

“This week they pulled USD 1.5bn out of the global advertising space because they weary of the cost of complexity,” he says.

“A complexity in which fake news thrives and in which household brands find themselves ‘supporting’ jihadi videos. The ‘cost’ can be as much to brand perception as it can be to P&G’s bottom line.”

Proctor & Gamble’s CFO Jon Moeller earlier told investors: “We’re working to lead the effort on media transparency, eliminating costs in the media supply chain created by poor standards adoption, too many players grading their own homework, too many hidden touches, too many holes, where criminals can rip us off and unsafe places for our brands to have ads.”

What’s your take on this? Is history a good indicator for the new and largely unexplored area of digital media and online duopolies? Send us your view on our feedback form.

Read more | See all posts

PA finds Facebook still earning from fake news

A recent investigation has revealed that Facebook is still earning money on the back of hoax content despite its promise to crack down on fake news.

The Press Association revealed that dodgy adverts and posts about celebrities such as Professor Stephen Hawking, Lord Sugar and the Queen persist – earning millions for the social media platform.

One advert about Lord Sugar used a webpage pretending to be The Sun to make money from gullible readers.

Similar scams on Facebook’s pages solicit clicks by claiming the death of the Queen, Professor Stephen Hawking and actor, Hugh Laurie.

Read more here and here | See all posts

Press gazette launches Facebook Google duopoly campaign

A British publication for the journalism industry has launched a campaign to expose the duopoly of Facebook and Google, and stop the two destroying the UK journalism industry.

Press Gazette, a publication that has focused on journalism issues for over 50 years is seeking a fairer deal between news publishers and the internet giants that will better reward the creators of the content that the two platforms rely on.

Facebook Unlike

“We want Google and Facebook to become more responsible digital citizens, acting in a way that allows diverse digital news sources rather than gorging themselves on all the available digital advertising in a way which will lead smaller players to starve,” said editor, Dominic Ponsford, who questioned why the two internet giants receive special treatment over British news publishers.

“Imagine if two news publishers dominated digital media in the way that Facebook and Google do,” he said. “The Government would not allow such a duopoly to stand. Campaigners would call for them to be broken up in the name of media plurality.

“Yet by 2020 Google and Facebook are expected to take 71 per cent of all the money spent in the UK on digital advertising, according to a report by analysts OC&C.”

Google Don't Be Evil Motto

The Press Gazette has launched a petition for people to register their concern.

Ponsford said that while news publishers are using digital channels more effectively than ever to reach their audiences, the advertising share they enjoy is continually being eroded by Facebook and Google.

“The effect of this can already be seen and is devastating for both the news industry and for society in general,” he said. “To add insult to injury, Google and Facebook are masters at avoiding paying tax in the UK on their vast profits.

“Journalism, which is broadly a social good, is being replaced by entities which have little responsibility and are complicit in creating a good deal of harm by distributing misleading and extremist content.”

Read more | See all posts