Years ago Facebook was pretty cool. You were to able to connect/reconnect with friends and for many it was an easy way of sending out personal news and information.
In the meantime something happened, Facebook transformed to Fakebook. Yes, Facebook is Fakebook!!
Just one example were the fake news websites that sprang up during the US election campaign. They have been traced to a small city in Macedonia, where teenagers are pumping out sensationalist stories to earn cash from advertising (Source BBC).
This was very easy for them. “After copying and pasting various articles, he packaged them under a catchy new headline, paid Facebook to share it with a target US audience hungry for Trump news and then when those Americans clicked on his stories and began to like and share them, he began earning revenue from advertising on the site. The Americans loved our stories and we make money from them,” he boasts, making sure I see the designer watch he’s fiddling with. “Who cares if they are true or false?” (Source BBC). This was not illegal but a pretty dirty misleading of readers.
How is it possible that many Americans (especially Trump supporters) believed these fake news?
Well, they reject the “traditional” media and much rather get their news on Fakebook as you can see in this video (Source BBC).
In Europe the media is called “Lügenpresse” and social media is used by the same type of people to spead their so-called “real news”.
Why did Fakebook let this happen?
… you might ask yourself. The greed of their investors made them implement an algorithm to reduce visibily of posts, and at the same time they introduced “promote your post” which gives posts a higher visibility in exchange for money, of course. No matter what is published on Fakebook, true or false, liberal or fanatical, Zuck and his investors make money from it. A social network that must be highly profitable to survive is therefore in a dilemma. Making money with e.g. fake news destroys Fakebook’s image and credibility. Censoring the uploaded content on the other hand is increasing cost and reduces profit. It is also a very difficult job and Fakebook might have to become some sort of “Digital World Police“.
As long as people only want to read what they like and don’t use their common sense anymore, Fakebook will continue to dominate the Internet. Brexit and the US election will for sure not be the only “results”. We have to be aware of the facts and keep in mind that “liking” and “sharing” are more than just “clicks”, they imply responsiblity. Information is at our fingertips as Bill Gates predicted 1995 but the challenge now is to qualify information.
P.S. Dec, 10, 2016
The following article by Timothy R. Myers I would like to add. Absolutely worth reading … and if you’re not convinced yet, maybe it will help you to do the same thing.
“Facebook has become a swamp of crass and obnoxious street fights and post-election hysteria where people are judging and sentencing others on the spot. It is the mecca for confrontational sound bites, click traps, and associated public lynching’s where people are hung on the spot if they dare to have their own opinion.”