Facebook Fake News Is Terrible and Getting Worse
After the last election, I decided to cull my newsfeed of as much political stuff as possible. Anybody who knows me on Facebook knows I’m pretty opinionated (on the liberal side), but I tried as hard as possible to stay far away from stuff that was clearly fake news. So I went to a lot of Facebook pages, like that for “Occupy Democrats”, a notoriously poke-you-in-the-eye liberal page, and blocked it:
I didn’t want to see anything posted from it, and didn’t want to interact with it. That seems pretty clear, no?
Now, I have a lot of friends who are equally liberal if not more so, and they haven’t blocked that page. Which is fine. I don’t see everything my friends post anyway (we all know that Facebook massages your feed, right?). So I figured that if I blocked this page, then anybody posting something on their wall from this page should not, I repeat not, show up on my newsfeed.
However, just today, a post from a friend popped on my news feed from Occupy Democrats, with a title so egregiously stupid as to come across as fake, that I just couldn’t believe it. The title was: “Donald Trump Just Declared His Inauguration a National Holiday”. (I’m definitely not going to link to the article, because it is total crap, and I don’t want to give it any traction).
Now, this is just stupid on so many fronts. If you hop over to snopes.com and search on “Donald Trump National Holiday”, you will find this to be quickly debunked. Using the same logic Occupy Democrats used, you can say that Obama declared his inauguration in 2009 a national holiday, and I don’t know about you, but nobody I know in the public or private sector has been getting January 20 off since Obama became POTUS. (Note: it wouldn’t surprise me if Stormfront or Breitbart had published a post in 2009 about how Obama had declared his inaugration a holiday).
And snopes does go to great length to describe what this signature means, and it means… nothing. Not a goddammed thing.
But, let’s not focus on that. I’m not really interested in debating what is or is not a national holiday and whether what Donald Trump did is better / worse / the same as what Obama did. This is about Facebook.
Reminder, I have blocked Facebook page. And I know this article got onto my newsfeed from somebody who follows this page, because when I did click on it, a new browser tab opened up with a URL lead of “i.facebook.com”, and then eventually redirected to Occupy Democrats web site.
So, why the fuck am I seeing this? Why is it not good enough that I blocked this page? Why am I still seeing this crap?
Maybe I just need to be more explicit. But… no. I went to the upper right hand corner of the Facebook article to see if I could somehow double-secret-probation block this site, and… I cannot:
As you can see, all I can do is either unfollow my friend, or “see fewer posts like this”. What the hell does that mean? Does that mean by saying hide you will hide all Occupy Democrats posts? Because you didn’t when I blocked their fucking page. Why should I believe you will do anything with “Hide post”? (for the record, I did that anyway because I”m sure some Facebook flak is saying “something something algorithms”).
I can see what Facebook is doing. They know I want to be on the service, because I have friends on the site, I interact with them, and yes, I still post and comment on posts about politics. They want my eyeballs on their site, and they’re trying to keep them there.
But just because I am on the site, doesn’t mean I want you to send me shit that I’ve specifically blocked. I told you once I don’t want to see this, and yet you won’t leave it alone. “Just when I thought I was out, they drag me back in” seems to be their motto.
Straighten up, Facebook. Quit being a douche. We know you cull people’s posts so that not every friend sees everything. We know you cull posts so that you can get rid of the “you won’t believe what happened next” videos. What Occupy Democrats is doing, and other liberal and conservative sites like it, is piggy backing on your platform. If Occupy Democrats was forced to stand up on its own, trying to get eyeballs the old fashioned way through paid ads, they would surely have folded by now. And, most likely, so would all the truly fake news sites.
Don’t give me a bullshit answer about this being “hard”. It’s not hard. How do I know it’s not hard? Because Google has already done it. I typed in “donald trump national holiday” into the Google machine, and the first articles up there were about how no, he most fucking did not do this. The Occupy Democrats link was 4th on the list, but below more prominent links saying it was bullshit:
Get your shit together and stop this. Stop this now.