The New York Times and The Washington Post have added their collective voices to those who are already shouting that Facebook needs to do something about its fake news problem.
Times media columnist Jim Rutenberg wrote that “Today’s fake news is limited only by the imaginations of its inventors and the number of shares it can garner on Facebook or Twitter.”
“With a mainstream news media that works hard to separate fact from fiction under economic and political threat, Facebook — which has contributed to that economic threat by gobbling up so much of the online advertising market — is going to have a special responsibility to do its part,” continued Rutenberg.
WaPo’s Margaret Sullivan echoed Rutenberg’s concern and then presented a “crazy” idea: Facebook should hire an executive editor.
“Whatever the title, Facebook needs someone who can distinguish a Pulitzer Prize-winning photograph from child pornography and who can tell a baseless lie from a thoroughly vetted investigative story,” explained Sullivan.
The fake news explosion on Facebook is a bad situation even if you can convince yourself it didn’t have a major impact on the presidential election (it did). Facebook’s co-founder Mark Zuckerberg is only making things worse by continuing to act like “more than 99 percent” of Facebook content is authentic.
Late Saturday night, Zuckerberg once again addressed fake news in a Facebook post. “We’ve been working on this problem for a long time and we take this responsibility seriously. We’ve made significant progress, but there is more work to be done.” That is true.