Send a Tweet
Most Popular Choices
Share on Facebook 14 Share on Twitter Printer Friendly Page More Sharing
OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 10/29/19

Don't Make Mark Zuckerberg America's Political Truth Czar

By       (Page 1 of 2 pages)     (# of views)   1 comment
Author 76576
Follow Me on Twitter     Message Thomas Knapp

Pinocchio dolls in a shop window in Florence. Photo by Vladimir Menkov. Dual-licensed under the GFDL and CC-By-SA-2.5, 2.0, and 1.0.
Pinocchio dolls in a shop window in Florence. Photo by Vladimir Menkov. Dual-licensed under the GFDL and CC-By-SA-2.5, 2.0, and 1.0.
(Image by Wikipedia (commons.wikimedia.org))
  Details   DMCA

Politicians lie.

Not all of them. Not every time. But most of them, from both "major" political parties, lie. A lot.

It's not always easy to tell when they're lying. It's not always easy to prove they're lying. Often, it's not even easy to tell if they're just lying to us or to themselves as well.

Some politicians want Facebook to stop politicians from lying. They phrase that desire as a request for Facebook to "fact check" content posted by politicians, especially political advertising.

Perhaps I'm too cynical, but I'm not sure it's coincidence that the examples politicians offer tend to be drawn from content posted by their political opponents.

US Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) is a notable exception. She asked Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg if Facebook would let her target Republican politicians by running ads falsely accusing them of voting for her "Green New Deal" proposal (Zuckerberg said he couldn't answer "off the top of his head").

On the other hand, AOC's own take seems a bit naive. "So you will take down lies or you won't take down lies?" she asked Zuckerberg. "I think this is a pretty simple yes or no."

It isn't.

Let's use the Green New Deal as an example.

If a Facebook employee has to "fact check" an ad asserting that the proposal would "tank the American economy," how should that employee evaluate the truth or falsehood of the claim?

What criteria should that employee use for deciding what "tank" means? Is slow economic growth "tanking?" Or would it take a recession or depression to meet the threshold?

Should that employee rely on analyses from the Heritage Foundation? Or perhaps from People for the American Way? Or the Congressional Budget Office? Or the Office of Management and Budget? Four sources, likely four wildly conflicting sets of claims and projections.

For a conflicting ad claiming the Green New Deal would "boost the American economy," should that employee "fact check" the ad using the same sources as for the original ad, or different sources? Would 1% growth of GDP constitute a boost? If not, what number, applied to what metric, would?

What if both ads fail the "fact check?" Should the public just flip a coin and vote accordingly, since the two sides are forbidden to offer us their takes to evaluate and decide between for ourselves?

Politics consists of conflicting narratives. No two opposing narratives can both be true. In fact, both could be false (Spoiler: Both are probably at least partially false, intentionally or not; personal biases affect politicians' beliefs, and ours, at least as much as facts do).

Next Page  1  |  2

 

Must Read 1   Well Said 1   Valuable 1  
Rate It | View Ratings

Thomas Knapp Social Media Pages: Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in       Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in       Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in       Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

Thomas L. Knapp is director and senior news analyst at the William Lloyd Garrison Center for Libertarian Advocacy Journalism (thegarrisoncenter.org). He lives and works in north central Florida.


Go To Commenting
The views expressed herein are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.
Follow Me on Twitter     Writers Guidelines
Contact AuthorContact Author Contact EditorContact Editor Author PageView Authors' Articles
Support OpEdNews

OpEdNews depends upon can't survive without your help.

If you value this article and the work of OpEdNews, please either Donate or Purchase a premium membership.

STAY IN THE KNOW
If you've enjoyed this, sign up for our daily or weekly newsletter to get lots of great progressive content.
Daily Weekly     OpEdNews Newsletter
Name
Email
   (Opens new browser window)
 

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

Hypocrisy Alert: Republicans Agreed with Ocasio-Cortez Until About One Minute Ago

Finally, Evidence of Russian Election Meddling ... Oh, Wait

Chickenhawk Donald: A Complete and Total Disgrace

The Nunes Memo Only Partially "Vindicates" Trump, But it Fully Indicts the FBI and the FISA Court

Aircraft Carriers: Give Truman and Ford a Burial at Sea

Political Parties Should Say What They Mean. The Libertarian Party Does.

Comments

The time limit for entering new comments on this article has expired.

This limit can be removed. Our paid membership program is designed to give you many benefits, such as removing this time limit. To learn more, please click here.

1 people are discussing this page, with 1 comments


Kenneth Lee

Become a Fan
Author 6860
(Member since Jul 8, 2007), 3 fans, 6 articles, 1 quicklinks, 287 comments
Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

  New Content

It is stunning how Facebook treats political statements, i.e., lies, compared to the outright banning of any discussion, statements and facts re: the lack of safety in vaccines.

Submitted on Wednesday, Oct 30, 2019 at 5:43:58 PM

Author 0
Add New Comment
Reply To This   Recommend  (0+)
Help

 
Want to post your own comment on this Article? Post Comment