Monday, January 30, 2017

"Does Clickbait cause blindness? Yes it does" (FB)

That's the sub-head at the Register:

Facebook ad biz comes scrutiny in MPs ‘Fake News’ probe
Zeitgeist-hungry MPs at the UK Parliament will conduct an inquiry into “Fake News”.

The Culture Media and Sport select committee will look at trying to define modern propaganda, its impact, and also asks whether “changes in the selling and placing of advertising encouraged the growth of fake news, for example by making it profitable to use fake news to attract more hits to websites, and thus more income from advertisers?”

It also wants to know if giant internet platforms (like Facebook and Google) have responsibilities - “particularly those which are accessible by young people” - and whether computer algorithms are “viable”.

“Just as major tech companies have accepted they have a social responsibility to combat piracy online and the illegal sharing of content, they also need to help address the spreading of fake news on social media platforms,” Collins said in a statement launching the inquiry.

He said MPs will also examine the idea that new “tools” could help weigh the truthiness of an article – a proposal rife with potential for abuse. (Who censors the censors?) China lost little time in citing the post-election concern over “Fake News” to implement its own crackdown.

Facebook finds itself under fire for its so-called “News” feed, and the clickbait business model that incentivises generators of low quality content. Facebook experimented with human curators of News last year before opting to promote stories via algorithms.
To be fair, MPs sound mildly sceptical about the whole thing:

“Are there differences between the UK and other countries in the degree to which people accept 'fake news', given our tradition of public service broadcasting and newspaper readership?”...


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