Fake News, Social Media, and Avoiding End Times

Buzzfeed News ran a piece a few weeks ago(?)(can we start using dates again on the internet?) making the case that the best way to grow a Facebook page is by making up inflammatory nonsense.

Buzzfeed News tells us what we already know:

The best way to attract and grow an audience for political content on the world’s biggest social network is to eschew factual reporting and instead play to partisan biases using false or misleading information that simply tells people what they want to hear.

I know, I know. Shocking.

But to see the evidence they put forth brings it into perspective. Technology companies are going to have to figure out how to solve for their coexistance with really important real world events.

This is going to be hairy business.

Facebook isn’t a media company. Facebook proper is an advertising company. They sell ads that are run against content. They don’t actually make content.

So how much of an editorial role should they play? Is it their business to edit for content or truth? Frankly, given the power they have over what almost everyone sees on a daily basis, getting into the fact checking game could lead down a scary road of its own.

But something has to give.

The Information Warp

Adage publishes a piece about a high profile person in the industry.

Adage tweets a link to the story.

Four people that I follow on Twitter retweet the original Adage tweet.

Nuzzel, an iPhone app (that shouldn’t have alerts enabled), alerts me on my Apple Watch that four people I follow have tweeted about the Adage story.

I find the link on my iPhone and save it for later using Instapaper.

I read the story in Instapaper.

I write my post in Ulysses. Starting on iPhone, continuing in Ulysses for Mac.

I publish the post to my self-hosted WordPress site directly from Ulysses.

Cindy gets an alert about it, probably from Google alerts.

Cindy links to my post and tags me on Facebook.

I am alerted about her Facebook post.

I press “Like” on Cindy’s post.

And here I am writing in Ulysses again.