Fake News and Facebook

“A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is still putting on its shoes,” A nice quote, but it wasn’t said by Mark Twain.

Thanks to the internet, we have lies spreading at the speed of light.  I don’t use Facebook to obtain news.  It is filled with tabloid junk.  I have never bought a tabloid at a grocery store checkout.

Here are a sample of truly false stories:

https://www.politifact.com/personalities/facebook-posts/statements/by/

This is from Politifact.com.   They don’t identify who made up the lie, as this just gives some individuals the free publicity they are seeking.  Facebook is being responsible by banning a very select group who stream out massive numbers of  false allegations faster at incredible speed, so they can profit from the sale of videos and books.

I support what Mark Zuckerberg is trying to do, by permanently banning the worst of the bloggers from Facebook.   He will be criticized no matter what he does, usually based on the idea of curbing free speech.  However, it’s completely legal and pretty routine as every  media outlet will screen out  advertisers for violation of their policies.   Infowars doesn’t care about the truth – only publicity and fortunately they have been taken to court a number of times as follows (see Wikipedia link):

  • In February 2017, the lawyers of James Alefantis, owner of Comet Ping Pong pizzeria, sent Jones a letter demanding an apology and retraction for his role in pushing the Pizzagate conspiracy theory. Under Texas law, Jones was given a month to comply or be subject to a libel suit.[141] In March 2017, Jones apologized to Alefantis for promulgating the conspiracy theory and retracted his allegations.[142]
  • In April 2017, the Chobani yogurt company filed a lawsuit against Jones for his article that claims that the company’s factory in Idaho, which employs refugees, was connected to a 2016 child sexual assault and a rise in tuberculosis cases.[143] As a result of the lawsuit, Jones issued an apology and retraction of his allegations in May 2017.[144]
  • In March 2018, Brennan Gilmore, who shared a video he captured of a car hitting anti-racism protesters at the 2017 Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, filed a lawsuit[145] against Jones and six others. According to the lawsuit, Jones said that Gilmore was acting as part of a false flag operation conducted by disgruntled government “deep state” employees in promotion of a coup against President Trump.[146] Gilmore alleges he has been receiving death threats from Jones’ audience.[146]
  • Leonard Pozner, father of a Sandy Hook shooting victim who has been forced to move several times to avoid harassment and death threats accusing him of being a crisis actor, has filed a defamation suit against Jones in Texas.[147]

I feel sorry for these individuals.    They had to go to court and suffer with Infowar’s attack for over a year.  The victims of Jones’ attack  certainly did not deserve this and it looks like all they got was a retraction.     When you  allow Alex Jones to use the Facebook platform to make libelous and hurtful statement about Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders, you give him the right to attack anyone.   And his history says he will.

I don’t buy into the “slippery slope” idea. I believe Facebook will use a lot of discretion in banning individuals, because they are the beneficiaries of a free flow of new ideas, even some very radical ones.

Facebook is working with fact checkers to block false information, see link below:

How is Facebook addressing false news through third-party fact-checkers?

I’ll end with a great quote from Daniel Patrick Moynihan

“Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts.”

So,  go out buy a real newspaper or reliable internet sources,  support fact checking organizations  and stay away from the tabloid world.

Stay tuned,

Dave

Wikipedia Alex Jones 

https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2019/05/03/trump-jr-accuses-facebook-silencing-conservatives-day-after-it-bans-some-far-right-users/?utm_term=.97fc760b8479

A bit more on Facebook

My blog on HUD and Facebook went a bit long but there were a few things missing.   I’ve included the lawsuit filing and the original HUD complaint.   Guess where I found the HUD filing – on HUD’s Facebook page!

In response, Facebook stated the following:

We’re surprised by HUD’s decision, as we’ve been working with them to address their concerns and have taken significant steps to prevent ads discrimination. Last year we eliminated thousands of targeting options that could potentially be misused, and just last week we reached historic agreements with the National Fair Housing Alliance, ACLU, and others that change the way housing, credit, and employment ads can be run on Facebook. While we were eager to find a solution, HUD insisted on access to sensitive information — like user data — without adequate safeguards. We’re disappointed by today’s developments, but we’ll continue working with civil rights experts on these issues.”

I’m curious exactly  this sensitive user information that HUD was seeking.

One final point.  What really stops “redlining” practices these day (beyond the fact that it is illegal) is Zillow and other competitors who provide maps showing available homes and rentals in a general area  with listed prices and extensive information which can be screened by the buyer.   Interestingly,  this is an area which Facebook is likely to enter.   It is a strike against discriminatory practices, at least on the information concerning availability.   See link:

Facebook sets its sights on housing. Should Zillow be worried?

As I said in the prior post, Facebook stock has actually risen after being sued.

Stay tuned,

Dave

Links:

Why HUD’s lawsuit against Facebook came as a surprise

HUD_v_Facebook

HUD_01-18-0323_Complaint