While we’re on the subject of fake news here in Zimbabwe, apparently Facebook has deleted the accounts of tens of thousand of users on its social network.
Facebook suspended 30,000 accounts in France before the first round of its presidential election last month. The social networking giant has also announced that it deleted tens of thousands of accounts in Britain ahead of the in a drive to battle .
Fake news has become a big problem globally. On Facebook especially, it is believed to have had a part in electing now USA president, Donald Trump. Panicked by how this is negatively affecting perceptions about their internet empires, online giants like Facebook and Google are acting drastically in a bid to curb the problem.
In addition to deleting these bad accounts, Facebook has also made changes to its newsfeed algorithm to ensure fake news doesn’t show up when users go browse the platform.
Google, just a few weeks ago, made changes to its search algorithms to ensure fake news purveyors don’t rank highly on its search engine.
The companies have however come under criticism for this. Some analysts for example have called attention to what they say is power to influence events in the world that the giant technology companies now have.
The concern, they say, is that by asking them to adjust their algorithms to fight news believed to be fake, we are also giving them permission to act on news defined as ‘fake’ based on the individual views of the leaders at these companies. The line between silencing ‘fake news’ and silencing views these leaders disagree with is thin, they say.
Such concerns were brought up especially after Mark Zuckerberg, who founded and controls Facebook, shared how he saw his company playing a central role in the world in, among other things, helping “people build a civically-engaged community in a world where participation in voting sometimes includes less than half our population”.
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