Facebook Exec Admits 'No Real Understanding' for the Scope of Fake News -- May 4, 2018, San Jose Mercury News
Three executives from Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube appeared at Stanford to discuss free speech in the social media age, with one law professor raising concerns about how the online giants are curating their services.
All three tech executives talked about increasing transparency and authenticity. But all acknowledge that nothing is foolproof and political speech in particular is most difficult to regulate, if it should be at all. "That puts a lot of control in the hands of the companies sitting here in term of what kind of speech is allowed to have the global reach," said Juniper Downs, YouTube's global head of public policy and government relations. "That is a responsibility we take very seriously and something we owe to the public and a civil society...."
Facebook is making information available on its platform to researchers to help understand the effect of Facebook usage on elections. Still, Facebook's Vice President of Public Policy Elliot Schrage urged caution. "There is no agreement whatsoever on the prevalence of false news and fake propaganda on our platform," he said. "We have no real understanding of what the scope of misinformation is." He suggested that despite these chaotic times, "I do think we should be pretty modest and circumspect in the approaches we take." Social media companies need to find creative ways to improve the spread of information, Schrage said. But it won't be easy. "No one company," he said, "is going to solve this problem."
From the San Jose Mercury News, via SlashDot:
Photo: Elliot Schrage, vice president of communications and public policy at Facebook, speaks during a forum about social media platforms and the future of democracy, on Mary 3, 2018 at Stanford University. Also in the photo are Larry Kramer, president of William and Flora Hewlett Foundation and former Stanford Law School dean, far left, Jeffrey Rosen, president and CEO of National Constitution Center, center right, and Nathaniel Persily, James B. McClatchy professor of law at Stanford Law School, far right. (Dai Sugano/Bay Area News Group)
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