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Facebook Under More Pressure to Deal With Fake News Before the UK General Election

BBC
It was only after the US presidential election that stories about fake news really began to ramp up. Many held Facebook directly responsible for the election's result, claiming that the platform played a hand in circulating false information, which went on the influence the way people voted. It's a debate which rages on, as Facebook continue to find ways to cope with the ongoing issue.

Two more pivotal elections are now breaching the horizon - the French presidential election on the 7th of May and the snap UK general election on the 8th of June. Both are controversial for entirely different reasons, but in both cases, the spread of fake news has been culpable for the way things have developed. Now, the UK select committee are calling for Facebook to do more.

The chair of the culture, media and sport select committee, Damian Collins, has urged Facebook to improve their response to fake news, and says that if they don't, then they are threatening the "integrity of democracy". That's a big statement, but given how frequently fake news stories were shared in the run up to the US election, not an inaccurate one.

Facebook have repeatedly stated that they don't wish to take any responsibility for the way news spreads on the platform, but they're finding it harder and harder to skirt around the fact that fake news, and the disproportionate prevalence of it on the platform, are having a pronounced effect on voter activity. Would Trump have still won if the top 20 fake news stories prior to the election hadn't been shared more than the top 20 real ones? It's hard to say, but the presence of impact can't be denied.

Collins is arguing that Facebook aren't responding quickly enough to reports and complaints, especially when the post in question is on the verge of going viral. While Facebook have recently made statements reminding critics that fake news is an "evolving challenge", and that they have no intention of acting as the "arbiter of truth".

They're still making efforts to curtail fake news, but far more progress has been made in the US, and even France and Germany than in the UK. With parties gearing up to start campaigning, Facebook's response over the next week ways could be critical to the tone of the election.



Callum is a film school graduate who is now making a name for himself as a journalist and content writer. His vices include flat whites and 90s hip-hop. Follow him @Songbird_Callum

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Facebook Under More Pressure to Deal With Fake News Before the UK General Election Reviewed by Callum Davies on Thursday, April 27, 2017 Rating: 5

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