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OpEdNews Op Eds    H4'ed 12/17/16

Facebook and its Effects on American Politics, and now Cleaning up the Fake News; Who is Colin Stretch?

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Colin Stretch promoted to vice President and General Counsel
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Facebook's VP and General Counsel, Colin Stretch

Rather than this endless dreary round of articles about Fake News in the boring mainstream press and the slightly less boring alternative media, I would rather read more about what this chap has to say about all of this, a more substantive and profound exchange of ideas than the recent news merely about his selling 750 shares of Facebook, which he did last August but which seems to be big news in the Financial press very recently, on December 15.

I am sure Colin Stretch could write a brilliant article about the legal aspects of that burgeoning giant corporation, Facebook, in general terms, without giving away any secrets or deep strategies. The corporation is, however, his client, and not the inquiring minds of liberal Americans. Yet, still, within those parameters, what interesting articles Colin Stretch could write.

He clerked for Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer and for Justice Laurence Silberman of the U S Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, and holds an A.B. in Government from Dartmouth College and a J.D. from Harvard Law School.


Facebook to start putting warning labels on 'fake news'

coverage on CNN Money, by Brian Stelter

click here


Discussion from Stephen Fox:

Woo! Getting real! It is about time. I wonder if Facebook will soon get to that phony deranged journalist who puts out all sorts of weepy fake obituaries of people who haven't died yet. His favorite repeat obituary is for Hugh Hefner, and this might stay around, despite my numerous letters to the entire Board of Directors of Facebook, none of whom have ever responded to me. Why might this most glaring source of fake news on Facebook survive? Because his click-bait advertising is all paid for.

However, all in all, this is a good and long overdue step for Facebook. If they can identify who pays the Macedonians to pump all of this fake news bilge out in the political realm, they will be making real progress. Personally, my surmise is that that power is probably West of the Urals and East of Poland. Starts with "M" and rhymes with "Holy Cow"...

The actual tools used by Facebook to determine veracity of news stories and posts are interesting. I was surfing through group pages recently and looked at one ostensibly pertaining to "Health" that turned out to be made up entirely of pornographic photos of loosely clad women's genitalia with vague references to camel's feet made by individuals that had obvious fake names. I took about 10 minutes and reported each of these offensive posts as pornography to Facebook.

Some of these offensive posts were removed by Facebook, but the response to most of the complaints were preposterous in that charming corporate boiler plate language unique to Facebook:

Thanks for letting us know about this. We looked over the post, and though it doesn't go against one of our specific Community Standards, you did the right thing by letting us know about it. We understand that it may still be offensive or distasteful to you, so we want to help you see less of things like it in the future.

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Early in the 2016 Primary campaign, I started a Facebook group: Bernie Sanders: Advice and Strategies to Help Him Win! As the primary season advanced, we shifted the focus to advancing Bernie's legislation in the Senate, particularly the (more...)

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