OpEd: There are numerous reports of phoney stories posted on social media that helped Donald Trump win the election.
Facebook is the main villain because it initially denied there was any problem.
Google, without being asked, said it was going to review its algos to keep phoney stories off Google Plus.
Users have complained they are not going to use Twitter and other sites until the problems are fixed.
“Last week Buzzfeed revealed that a handful of teens in Macedonia, were responsible for dozens or more of the inaccurate conspiracy theories that had been getting sometimes hundreds of thousands of likes and shares on Facebook. Nearly all of these were in favour of Donald Trump. They’d gamed Facebook’s algorithm, noting that stories aimed at Clinton supporters didn’t make as many ad dollars as those aimed at Trump supporters,” Forbes reported.
Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook founder, said this was “a pretty crazy idea.”
“A quiet group of rebel Facebook employees have created a fake-news “task force” to address the issue of hoax news appearing in users’ feeds, BuzzFeed News reports.
“More than dozens” of employees have banded together, fearing retribution from management and meeting in secret, and plan to come up with a set of recommendations to deliver to Facebook’s management about how to fix the fake-news problem. “What’s crazy,” one anonymous Facebook employee tells BuzzFeed, “is for [Zuckerberg] to come out and dismiss it like that, when he knows, and those of us at the company know, that fake news ran wild on our platform during the entire campaign season,” said Vanity Fair.
Gizmodo said Facebook was afraid of a conservative backlash.
“It’s no secret that Facebook has a fake news problem. Critics have accused the social network of allowing false and hoax news stories to run rampant, with some suggesting that Facebook contributed to Donald Trump’s election by letting hyper-partisan websites spread false and misleading information.
They absolutely have the tools to shut down fake news "Still, it’s hard to visit Facebook without seeing phony headlines like “FBI Agent Suspected in Hillary Email Leaks Found Dead in Apparent Murder-Suicide” or “Pope Francis Shocks World, Endorses Donald Trump for President, Releases Statement” promoted by no-name news sites like the Denver Guardian and Ending the Fed."
Google publicly declared it had seen the problem and was working on it. It was embarrassed by reports it carried saying Trump had won the popular vote.
Hillary Clinton has at least one million more votes, perhaps more.
Westerners were cheered by the Arab spring several years ago, when social media brought down Arab dictators. Many tyrants regained power, and no one in the U.S. expected we would see our own November winter.
Trump took credit for his mastery of social media, declaring it helped him win. He said he didn’t have the money the Clintons had so he used social media.
Many users who supported Clinton blocked these hoax news stories.
But they showed up on many Facebook sites. No one realized they were hoaxes. Some defriended the people posting these false stories. But many were generated by bots.
Trump has threatened libel against news outlets like the New York Times which publish articles critical of him. He sent them several tweets.
The Times replied that they would keep reporting all the truth on trump and he could shove it.
Trump’s latest manoeuvres are to try the block on his several trials for federal racketeering charge.
The status of a 14-year-old who claims Trump and a friend raped her. It is in limbo after she has received death threats.
2016 US election news and other news from the USA
Worked in journalism, including on the Internet, for more than 40 years. Started as a news editor at the Colorado Daily at the University of Colorado, joined a small Montana newspaper, the Helena Independent-Record, and then United Press International.