Fix Facebook: Remove Fake News From Our News Feed
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We the undersigned Facebook users are asking you to implement the tools to identify and remove fake news stories from our newsfeed and procedures that allow users to flag suspected fake news stories for review. We also call on corporations and other organizations that use Facebook to stop paying for advertising until this issue is addressed. We believe it is in the best interest of Facebook and it’s users to act swiftly on this matter. If you choose not to act, the undersigned Facebook users will stop using Facebook in protest on November 30th at 12PM. We will not return until this matter is fully addressed.
The solution to this problem exists, four college students have already created it. And it was recently reported by Michael Nunez at Gizmodo that Facebook shelved a similar tool that would prevent or remove fake news that misleads the public. It appears Facebook was worried about how the policy might impact one of the major political parties in the United States more than the other and how this would be perceived by the public. By appearing as partial to one group it might cause negative media attention or backlash from some Facebook’s users. We understand as the co-founder of a publicly traded company you have a responsibility to balance what your users want and the financial interests of Facebook. We appreciate that you share our concern and believe that the time to act is now. We believe removing fake news stories that lie and mislead the public is an action in the best interest of our global community, and ultimately your company's financial interests.
Facebook has more than a billion users globally who engage their friends, family, co-workers, and neighbors in their personal lives and local, national, and global events. According to Pew Research 62% of US adults get some of their news through social media and 44% through Facebook. That number will grow both domestically and globally as more users come online. Combine these facts with the near ubiquitous influence of social media and the growing number of fake news posts, and a very problematic pattern begins to emerge. As John Oliver at Last Week Tonight explained, these misleading websites and facebook pages are beginning to play a larger role in how we understand our world. We believe, Facebook has a responsibility to ensure, where possible, that people are not being knowingly misled about our world. We cannot allow bad actors to use our community to mislead and lie to us. Allowing it to continue unchecked will have significant global consequences.
Currently if we flag a post as a fake news story our options are to: block, unfollow, unfriend, or message our Facebook friend. While messaging a Facebook friend about an issue is always a good first step it does not go far enough to address the issue. Facebook should have in place tools that either block the content from Facebook or, if we are concerned about censorship, allow the post to exist on a user's wall, but don't allow it into our public newsfeeds. Facebook could add a warning to the post informing users that the post, or website it links to has been found to mislead in its reporting. In addition, we should have the ability to flag posts so that Facebook can review and address it accordingly.
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