As we know, ‘Fake News’ is all the buzzword right now. The Donald is a massive fan. Kelly-Ann Conway has affectionately termed it ‘facts’ (as opposed to the ‘alternative facts’ that are, in her opinion, more true). And people are real angry with Facebook for allowing fake news to ‘influence the US presidential election’.
It’s almost as though we’re demanding some sort of government intervention into this free market of information.
I can’t help but wonder whether we’re demonstrating that the libertarian ideal of the internet – this world in which information is freely provided, and only the best sites with the best content will be supported by the masses – is failing. If only because the vast majority of internet users are not looking to support the best or most reliable content. Instead, they’re looking for clickbait that they actually enjoy reading. And preferably stories that support their preconceptions.
So now we’re asking Facebook and Google to fix it.
Fake News Regulation: picking the right algorithm
Unfortunately, like any kind of ‘intervention’, the landscape is now fraught with imperfect solutions. This infographic from futurism.com is an awesome summary of the pros and cons. So I’m sharing it here:
So it seems that anything we try will have some bad outcomes:
- Either we’ll end up calling real news ‘fake’; or
- We’ll end up not addressing fake news at all; or
- There will be long and extended arguments about what news is fake and what is not, followed by accusations that the internet of being one giant Matrix-esque conspiracy.
But I think that it’s interesting to see how ‘unregulated’ areas of our lives almost inevitably tend toward regulation.
Especially as we’re the ones demanding it.
Rolling Alpha posts about finance, economics, and sometimes stuff that is only quite loosely related. Follow me on Twitter @RollingAlpha, or like my page on Facebook at www.facebook.com/rollingalpha. Or both.