I absolutely do not trust Facebook to decide what's fake and what's not fake, so I'm with Zuckerberg here and not the "renegades." "Renegade" makes these people sound daring, but they are into censorship and upping the power of the big corporation. The chance that such a power would be used in a politically biased way is approximately 100%. I don't know how much Zuckerberg is really committed to the freedom of speech, but I think he knows if Facebook started deeming some political stories "fake" and taking action against them, Facebook would be accused of bias and censorship and it wouldn't be good for Facebook, the business.
Those of us who care about freedom of speech should try to make it vividly apparent to the people of Facebook that censorship will hurt them economically. You can't trust them to believe in freedom of speech. They've already got a heated-up, self-righteous band of insiders who think censorship is the cutting edge.
By the way, the first definition of "renegade" in the OED is: "A person who renounces his or her faith; an apostate; (in early use) spec. a Christian who converts to Islam." Second is: "A person who deserts, betrays, or is disloyal to an organization, country, or set of principles; a turncoat, a traitor." The set of principles here is: freedom of speech, the autonomy of individual writers, and the viewpoint neutrality of the owner of the forum.
Buzzfeed quotes an unnamed Facebook employee, opining on Zuckerberg's statement that it's "pretty crazy" to think that fake news on Facebook helped elect Trump:
“It’s not a crazy idea. What’s crazy is for him 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.”We're told that there's a task force of "more than dozens" of Facebook employees holding secret meetings and that "hundreds” of employees are supportive of the cause.
“There is a lot more we could be doing using tools already built and in use across Facebook to stop other offensive or harmful content,” said a second Facebook employee who has been a longtime engineer there. “We do a lot to stop people from posting nudity or violence, from automatically flagging certain sites to warning people who post content that doesn’t meet the community guidelines,” the employee said. He added that while Facebook users were encouraged to flag fake news, the guidelines for removing that sort of content were not clear. “If someone posts a fake news article, which claims that the Clintons are employing illegal immigrants, and that incites people to violence against illegal immigrants, isn’t that dangerous, doesn’t that also violate our community standards?”...Experts warned, eh? Yes, it's those pesky experts. Well, I too am an expert, and I'm not even hiding my name. As an expert, I say: All news is fake news.
Facebook came under fire in May amid accounts by recent employees that personal bias was pushing the platform’s Trending Topics section towards more liberal news sites. In the wake of the report, Facebook fired its entire Trending Topics team, and said it would instead rely on an algorithm — though as BuzzFeed News reported, experts warned that algorithms were likely to increase the spread of fake news.
I mean, look at this. I did a screen shot of the first thing I saw at nytimes.com when I looked at my iPhone this morning:
The news is that Trump is criticized? There's a core of news: Trump hired somebody. But the headline isn't what Trump did. It's that people are criticizing him, that he is "denounced." And the person he hired is a "hard-right nationalist." That's at the top of the NYT mobile edition. Here's what should be the most respected news site, and it's reframing what Trump does into anti-Trump propaganda by pretending that the real news is what various Trump antagonists think of the news.