There has been a heated debate in relation to the sharing of fake news on the social platform Facebook. The importance of this phenomenon has been clear with the recent political elections in the United States when an analysis carried out by Buzz Feed News showed that viral fake election news stories outperformed real news on Facebook. The engagement related to this type of news (shares, comments, likes) has risen surprisingly as the election drew closer.
The issue that arises here is the liability that Facebook has in relation to the promotion of this type of news that lead to misinformation and sometimes to even more serious outcomes (hypothesis that fake information influenced the outcome of the elections). The problem of this type of phenomena is clear for everybody who understands the impact of information, but it seems that Facebook is not willing to take responsability. It can also be argued that the promotion of fake news is not as important as the gain in engagement from the website’s users, which can determine Facebook to avoid taking any further responsibility in preventing fake news.
It is important to raise the question whether Facebook can be held responsible through legal means which would determine the website to take real responsibility. Can the regulator impose such rules for Facebook?
I think this is a great question, because of the global effect it would have. We would need a true global action to be able to enforce such legislation.
Maybe we should ask specifically Isabelle Falque-Pierrotin this question because she would be the one handling this in France. And use this opportunity to ask her if the CNIL shouldn’t take more responsibility on fighting fake news, because they seem pretty passive (from what have read, and the lack of known public action) at this point. Shouldn’t the State create an agency to target this new threat to democracy ?