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Here’s How to Fix Facebook’s Fake News

Transparent algorithms and unfiltered newsfeeds may not be enough to fix the digital delivery systems that have made fake news a fixture. What’s needed is a software overhaul.



 11.19.16 12:01 AM ET

For those of us who (despite a big blow to our confidence) still believe in the power of ideas to generate good, Facebook’s fake news problem should be a lightning rod.

Nobody wins in a system that rewards lying. If stories stating that Pope Francis is endorsing this or that candidate get more readership than legitimate news while countless other bogus articles achieve trending status, we have a real problem. We need a level playing field for free and open debate in which a general adherence to truthfulness can safely be assumed. Disinformation is a scourge on our democracy.

While we can’t save people from their own stupidity, we shouldn’t tolerate a system that gives an incentive to Macedonian teenagers to make up BS stories that entice clicks from gullible Americans. So, we must redesign the underlying architecture of social media. And for that, we need forward-thinking software engineers and socially responsible entrepreneurs, people willing and able to disrupt the insidiously destructive, self-serving profit models of social media companies like Facebook.

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