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Fake news: Another problem technology should solve?

February 20, 2017 · 3 min read
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Apple’s senior vice president of Internet Software and Services, Eddy Cue, speaking at Recode’s code Media Conference, explained that we all are responsible for fake news. Every technology body is responsible for fake news because it is through devices and services fake news is propagated.

Fake news has always been an issue to tackle in Nigeria, and all over the world. Often it comes as breaking news, and it has catchy headlines that entice the public to desire to click and read it. Recently, Tim Cook refers to fake news as one of “today’s chief problem’s”, that is “killing people’s minds”.

Fake news misinforms, and this is harmful to the person who digests the news and to the society at large. Most of these fake news are aimed at misinforming, causing havoc/chaos and tarnishing the good image of individuals and sometimes, it’s just some media junkie having a bad day.

This may seem hilarious but there is another side to fake news; it’s the source of livelihood for some. Some people fabricate, have the fake news trending and gain traffic, make money.This is one of the reasons why Facebook is not making the decision about what is fake and what is not.

I don’t think people want us to be the arbiters of truth. There are third parties out there who do this for a living — Dan Rose Vice President of Patnership, Facebook.

Sharing a fake news on Facebook is your prerogative. Facebook has put in place tools that will allow third party checkers to flag fake new stories, so even after the news has been flagged, sharing it will be an individuals right.

Facebook is partnering with organisations such as Snopes, Politifact, ABC News, FactCheck.org to make this possible.

In 2015 and 2016, there was a false news trending in Africa, and especially Nigeria. The news claimed that the then US president aspirant, Donald Trump, had said that Africans are lazy fools only good at eating, lovemaking, and stealing.

Quite a lot of media agencies aired this news all over Nigeria, Kenya, and even Zimbabwe, even though most of these news agencies have removed it from their sites. Some even apologised for wrong information. However, the damage was already done. Till date, many people do not know it was fake news. And that is just one of many such news. Imagine the damage that more news like this can cause to an individual’s mindset.

Fake news has always been even from the days of print, but the advancement in technology has caused fake news to be on the rise. Anyone can wake up and fabricate something and post it on social media, and it keeps circulating until someone is able to decipher that it’s unreal and break the chain of circulation.

The big question we all have to answer as technology experts is this, should we claim responsibility for this headache and find ways to eradicate it as Eddy Cue as said? Or we should respect it as the livelihood of some individuals. Should it be our prerogative at the end of the day to determine if we wish to share such news or not?

As technology moves towards making a decision with fake news, you can keep trusting  Techpoint.ng, to chronicle the unerring information about the tech world as it is.

Tobiloba Fadoju

Tobiloba Fadoju

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Writer at Techpoint.ng

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