This is a great piece, but it did prompt me to think : is the end result that different from what people get from tabloid newspapers?
Take the Daily Mail : second highest print circulation in the UK and world’s most visited english-language news site. They may publish less outright deception, but there’s plenty of bias, negative spin, misinterpretation and unwillingness to report facts readers might not like.
We might like to think that pre-Facebook everyone got their news from reputable journalists : but in reality for a long time there’s always been a huge and growing proportion who’ve taken their information from highly opinionated tabloids and broadcast media.
Maybe what’s different now is that even those of us who’ve previously been more careful about our news sources have been taken in by facebook’s hype : we see the bits of content from respected publishers we like, so we don’t notice that we, our friends, family and the guy in the break room are reading the world’s most personalised, least responsible, tabloid under the exact same masthead.
It seems unlikely that can or will change significantly given their business model.
So perhaps what’s needed is a focus on getting Facebook to accept and acknowledge that, rather than pushing them to pretend they’re publishing balanced journalism.
And meanwhile, working to raise awareness that society and democracy will never be safe while people are willing to take information without challenge from any small pool of sources, whether that’s Facebook, the Daily Mail, or even the BBC and the Guardian. Maybe the light in the Brexit/Trump tunnel is that they’ve pushed more of us towards that realisation.