Social Question

Demosthenes's avatar

What standards should social media sites use to determine whether something is "misinformation" and deserves to be banned from their site?

Asked by Demosthenes (14903points) June 30th, 2021
20 responses
“Great Question” (3points)

Social media companies are caught between a rock and a hard place. They don’t want to be faulted for allowing misinformation to proliferate, but they also don’t want to be accused of censoring the truth. Sometimes they ban discussion of something because it’s seen as spreading misinformation, but then it later turns out what they banned might not have been so false after all, so they have to reverse their actions (as Facebook did recently with discussion of COVID-19’s origins in a Wuhan lab). Should Facebook just not have banned discussion of “lab leak theory” in the first place? What standards should social media sites use to determine whether something is “misinformation” and deserves to be banned from their site? What does this “reversal” reveal about the state of internet “fact checking”?

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gorillapaws's avatar

I think it’s a mistake for them to get involved with curating truth. The one possible exception would be when there is health-related misinformation that could lead to someone being seriously harmed (e.g. drinking bleach can cure COVID-19).

product's avatar

These corporations should have no role in determining the veracity of posts on their platforms.

Demosthenes's avatar

@product @gorillapaws I agree, but then the government pressures them and subjects them to various inquests and bad press for failing to stop misinformation and “undermining democracy”, so they have a financial incentive to curate truth.

product's avatar

@Demosthenes: “but then the government pressures them and subjects them to various inquests and bad press for failing to stop misinformation and “undermining democracy””

Exactly. At best these platforms become political tools.

@Demosthenes: “so they have a financial incentive to curate truth.”

Correct. This is why corporate media curate “truth”. And it’s this curation that is the problem.

seawulf575's avatar

None. There should be no banning of data on social media sites. IT IS A SOCIAL MEDIA SITE!!! It isn’t news, and the site isn’t passing it off as news. It is somebody’s view point on a social media site!. Any action taken to stop discussions or viewpoints on these sites is nothing but blatant censorship. And politically motivated censorship at that!

YARNLADY's avatar

I prefer a mediated site where misinformation is banned. The standard is what can be proven as fact. Maybe there can be free to all forums available for people who don’t care.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

Whatever social media deletes is because the content doesn’t agree with their Community Standards and it is Facebook’s website not the liar’s and troll’s website.

Go to a store and sign says, “No Shirt, No Shoes – - No Service !”

Go somewhere else if you don’t like their rules.

Patty_Melt's avatar

None. Nothing. Zip. Nada.
Banning anything exempts them from a classification as social, and reclassifies them as socialist media.
The only fact checking should be of the credentials any participant claims as backing for their statements.

Response moderated (Flame-Bait)
JLeslie's avatar

The man I talked to who wrote code for Facebook several years ago specifically to find fake and dangerous information said they worked with the FBI and CIA and focused on the original source of the meme, video, or post. That sounds good to me.

If it comes from a known Neo Nazi group, or comes from Russia or China or some other country trying to divide America, that’s a good sign it might be completely fabricated specifically to harm Americans.

I don’t think social media should delete the opinions of real people, but deleting bots and trolls and memes that are totally false and created for only harmful reasons by foreign and domestic terrorists I’m ok with.

It’s a hard topic, because as Americans free speech is so engrained in us.

What if social media is deleting people who are luring women into human trafficking, is that ok to delete?

seawulf575's avatar

The problem with the censorship based on viewpoints is that you open up the door for others to determine what is and isn’t acceptable. Open that door and you close the door on your freedom eventually. What if they suddenly determine that anyone with a leftist view point is offering hate speech? Putting out misinformation? So they start censoring everything that has that slant on it. Is that fine? I mean, after all, if you believe it is okay on somethings, why is it suddenly wrong when the same people start changing what they see as fine?

JLeslie's avatar

@seawulf575 If China was flooding social media with messaging that would hurt America would you be ok with banning that? You can see where the message originates. Does free speech on our social media extend to foreigners in foreign countries or foreign governments?

Tropical_Willie's avatar

Censorship – -

“the changing or the suppression or prohibition of speech or writing that is deemed subversive of the common good. It occurs in all manifestations of authority to some degree, but in modern times it has been of special importance in its relation to government and the rule of law.” Britannica . com

It is the Government suppressing of prohibiting speech, not a private company! Oh the social media could be held culpable of leaving lies and falsehoods up on their website !

seawulf575's avatar

@JLeslie If you are truly worried about China playing the propaganda game, then the only censorship should be to have a mark of some sort delineating where the poster comes from. Then people can see at a glance if it is coming from outside the US.

But think about it…we have jellies on these pages that come from outside the US who rabidly comment on our politicians, on our elections, on our policies, etc. Is that really any different? Should we, then, moderate all their comments of this sort out for being disinformation? For potentially being damaging to our nation?

JLeslie's avatar

@seawulf575 It is different what happens here than what happens on Facebook.

Like I said above the man I’ve met who used to write code for Facebook worked hand and hand with the FBI and CIA and the coding traced back to the SOURCE of the memes. He said it was difficult code to write. The source doesn’t mean you passing along the meme, it means tracing back to its origin. What you linked might get deleted by a Facebook moderator, but that’s because of the SOURCE of the information.

If you talk about why you don’t like a politician or a policy on Facebook it’s not going to be deleted.

seawulf575's avatar

@JLeslie why is it different? Isn’t this social media? Couldn’t foreign governments be inserting themselves into this platform, spreading dissention and misinformation? I’m going to say that our fellow jellies feel it is not only possible but probable, given that I personally have been accused of being a foreign agent doing that exact thing. They felt I should be banned.

JLeslie's avatar

@seawulf575 On fluther we do delete personal attacks, which is a lot of what I see on Facebook regarding false information. The mods here do delete the accounts of bots and trolls. We don’t have photos here unless you click on a link, it’s not a constant barrage of visuals bombarding us like other social media.

seawulf575's avatar

@JLeslie But you are arguing that if the poster on Facebook is from a foreign nation and is attempting to subvert our nation, they should be banned. So how is that different than Fluther? Just because it is a real person doesn’t mean they aren’t a foreigner trying to subvert our nation, does it? But you are completely okay with that. So who are these shadowy beings who ARE the problem then? It looks like you don’t care if it is a real person, just if it is a ‘bot. I mean, anyone that pushes a specific view could be considered a troll, couldn’t they?

JLeslie's avatar

@seawulf575 It is not different from fluther, that was my point. We do moderate and delete and ban people on fluther.

I’m not saying only bots, but the bots are obvious. Anyone who is constantly commenting on politics from outside of our country and specifically commenting total made up information, meaning creating information and rumors, or who is commenting on both sides of an issue in a very extreme way to stir up on purpose both sides of the political aisle is suspicious. People inside the country with known affiliations to hate groups are suspicious too, but I agree it is better to err on the side of free speech, It is a very tricky subject.

If you think there was not and is not purposeful messaging from outside of our country to manipulate Americans and divide us you are behind on what is actually known about what is happening on social media. It’s just a fact that it is happening and has been for several years now. It comes from within the country also, but the foreign players are an obvious threat to our country. Some of them push views on both sides of the political aisle. Their main goal is to divide us.

seawulf575's avatar

@JLeslie My point is that people SHOULD be smart enough to think for themselves. That is the responsibility that comes with the freedom. Idealistic, I know, but that is one of my flaws. And personally, I find most social media outlets to be pretty useless, if not damaging to our nation all by themselves. If I could wave a magic wand and make it so none of them were ever created, I would. I believe the world would be better for it.

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