Facebook and “Fake News”

This task force gives students the responsibility of designing a program that will identify “fake news” without directly infringing on someone’s freedom of press.

Task Force: Facebook and “Fake News”

Congratulations!

You have been hired by Mark Zuckerberg to design a program that will identify “fake news” without directly infringing on someone’s freedom of press. Specifically, you are being asked to find a way to approach fake news on his social media platform, Facebook. Zuckerberg has explicitly stated that you must do-so In a manner that will best avoid complaints about repressing someone’s freedom of press.

Why Are We Doing This?:

Freedom of press is a right that is greatly valued by American citizens. However, the rising influence of new technologies and social media platforms have brought upon new problems associated with this freedom. Here, we ask you to try and find a balance between spreading misinformation on popular social media platforms while also respecting the freedom of press of its users. 

Steps:

  1. Start off researching how certain social media platforms address this problem and then deciding how you will define “fake news.”
    1.  What kinds of misinformation should be identified? 
    2. At what point will censoring a certain type of media be considered an infringement of freedom of press?
    3. Brainstorm how you will address and prevent the spread of your newly defined fake news. 
    4. Will you remove posts that spread fake news? Or will you flag them?  
  2. Think through the possible objections about your design that someone could have and how you would answer them.
    1. What part of your definition of fake news might be hard to implement?
  3. Share with the group and see if you can convince them that your program best prevents the spread of fake news while also protecting the freedom of press.

Things to Keep in Mind:

  • You do not have to come up with an exhaustive list of guidelines for your plan. It’s better to come up with a few requirements that you feel confident with and spend time thinking through possible objections to it.
  • You don’t have to worry about answering all possible objections, but you should have some defense of why you think your guidelines are important in creating a balance between preventing the spread of misinformation and protecting freedom of press..
  • Your requirements should be things that Facebook could realistically implement.
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