The solution to the fake news problem

Gaah, why didn’t I think of this?

The only solution to the problem of fake news that neither misdiagnoses the problem nor overpowers the elites is to completely rethink the fundamentals of digital capitalism. We need to make online advertising – and its destructive click-and-share drive – less central to how we live, work and communicate. At the same time, we need to delegate more decision-making power to citizens – rather than the easily corruptible experts and venal corporations.

This means building a world where Facebook and Google neither wield much clout nor monopolise problem-solving. A formidable task worthy of mature democracies. Alas, the existing democracies, stuck in their denials of various kinds, prefer to blame everyone but themselves while offloading more and more problems to Silicon Valley.

Nationalise Facebook and Google. Or at least wield the power of the Curajus State over them.

That’s Evgeny Morozov’s idea at least. What is it about Belorussians that leads to this sort of thing?

18 comments on “The solution to the fake news problem

  1. ‘we need to delegate more decision-making power to citizen’
    gives the game away. Here you guys!— make this decision will you?, mind you make the korrect one or your powers will be revoked, sign here here and here. Ta.

  2. We need to make online advertising – and its destructive click-and-share drive – less central to how we live, work and communicate.

    Oddly enough Facebook does not play a central role in my life. Perhaps because I never use it. Hence I do not have a false news problem either. Simple really.

    At the same time, we need to delegate more decision-making power to citizens – rather than the easily corruptible experts and venal corporations.</i.

    Ahh, Popular Committees. They always work out so well.

    This means building a world where Facebook and Google neither wield much clout nor monopolise problem-solving.

    There is a simple solution to that – build a better platform. You don’t like Facebook’s quasi-monopoly? Then build something that people want to use even more. What is stopping you?

  3. SMFS: … Hence I do not have a false news problem either.

    I’m full of admiration but how do you shut out the BBC? I find it amazing that successive Conservative (-led) governments can absorb all the BBC’s brickbats, become steadily ever more ‘progressive’ and wave through charter renewal when an Ecksian solution seems seriously overdue.

  4. I’m full of admiration but how do you shut out the BBC?

    It’s easy: don’t watch any of their channels, or click on any link to their web site.

    Job done.

  5. “Then build something that people want to use even more. What is stopping you?”

    What? You expect them put in all that hard work and money when it might not even work? Much easier and certain to take over the institutions of State control and using laws and regulations to get your way.

  6. FFS There’s always been fake news. When I used to read Private Eye it was full of stuff (and PE itself is hardly immune). For years, the broadsheets used to talk about the lies of The Sun. Of course, they’re not immune: The Hitler Diaries, claims about Milly Dowler’s phone. And let’s not even go into celebrity news and their willing deals with celebrities to lie about the wives of gay men.

    They’re just pissed because people are getting other fake news rather than theirs. Fuck knows why they think they’re going to win this.

  7. “we need to delegate more decision-making power to citizens”

    “Alas, the existing democracies, stuck in their denials of various kinds, prefer to blame everyone but themselves”

    So are the demos unable to decide (whether to use Facebook??) or in denial? It seems odd to suggest the same fix for such different problems, unless you were some kind of ideologue.

  8. ‘We need to make online advertising – and its destructive click-and-share drive – less central to how we live, work and communicate.’

    ‘Since you’re here…’

    So many of their articles and opinion pieces are thinly (and not so thinly) disguised begging letters.

  9. Bloke in Wales:

    Yup, never go near the TV or the website but what about the radio? Apart from music channels how to break away from the BBC?

  10. TMB,

    “Yup, never go near the TV or the website but what about the radio? Apart from music channels how to break away from the BBC?”

    That leaves what, Radio 4? I never listen to it. It’s like Radio Graun. “And next on Today an interview with the musician…”. don’t tell me, it’s one of those Conservatives, like Gary Numan or Steve Harley, isn’t it? No? It’s a hard leftie like Billy Bragg or maybe some state-funded classical conductor whining about cuts and how great the Sistema is in Venezuela. Well, blow me down. I last about 15 minutes before the subtle pro-state bias has me reaching for the dial.

    I did used to like Kermode and Mayo, but I lost respect for Kermode after falling in with that whole “misogyny” bullshit about Ghostbusters.

    My advice: get a smartphone, a bluetooth unit in the car and some podcasting software. I’m almost entirely off BBC radio now. I like Radio 3 in the morning and Bob Harris on R2, but I could lose both. The various Dubner podcasts, Cracked, Red Letter Media and various geek/tech stuff keeps me happy. I even like NPR more than the BBC.

  11. ‘Democracy is drowning in fake news.’

    It has been around since Gutenberg.

    ‘At the same time, we need to delegate more decision-making power to citizens – rather than the easily corruptible experts and venal corporations.’

    Uhhh . . . that’s where we are. The people weigh the news, fake and all, and make their decisions. It’s called “democracy.”

    Morozov seeks a solution to democracy.

  12. The answer to the terror of fake news is to copy ad blockers. Readers could install blockers from providers they trust and could themselves flag up news to block. That way it only affects those who wish to use it.

  13. Yup, never go near the TV or the website but what about the radio? Apart from music channels how to break away from the BBC?

    True, I’d forgotten about the radio – because I never listen to BBC channels either.

  14. If I thought about it, I’d probably miss TMS. But then I realised I’d not listened to it that much over the last couple of years either. Mainly because, apart from Blowers (on the rare occasions he was on) and Aggers, the rest were a pale imitation of the former commentary team.

  15. Bloke in Wiltshire: Yes, therein lies the problem. Time was when one could apply the “Graun-filter” and sift out the chaff but R4 is now chaff from side to side and top to bottom.

    Those – and there are a good few here, I think – who have been based abroad or travelled extensively must weep at what the World Service has morphed into from the excellent thing that one tuned into on various short wave frequencies depending on location and time of day. I still have my old long-standing companion the excellent Sony ICF-2001 from the early 80s but it’s never used now.

  16. Reading the comments above got me thinking (usually a bad idea). But I thought, once we’ve got Brexit under way, why not have a new referendum: Should Britain leave the BBC? Could be fun…

  17. A State-run broadcaster is a rather odd thing when one thinks about it. As soon as you hear someone professing to trust a government more than a private company you know you are not in the presence of a deep thinker.

  18. What’s the difference between fake news and propaganda? For years the left believed everything that was printed in Pravda and denied all negative stories. Now they’ve seen the light that sometimes political parties or their operatives go to great lengths to weave a story that sounds credible to their supporters.

    The only solution to propaganda is an educated population that thinks critically, but that’s the last thing the left wants.

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