Facebook, Google deal with storm of criticism over phony news during election

Joshua Benton in NeimanLab, November 9, 2016, writes that Facebook with 2 billion in its web each month contributed significantly to the media’s failure to provide reliable information vital to a functioning democracy. Benton says Facebook has become “a sewer of misinformation.” He cites an example of  a Facebook page viewed 48 hours before the election that was full of bogus stories about Hillary Clinton.

Google is also on the firing line for allowing stories, one example that Trump actually won the popular vote, to circulate on its news index. Google and Facebook are taking steps to deny sites that circulate misleading and deceptive stories. But Mark Zuckerberg’s handling of the criticism was “clueless, defensive, and incoherent,” writes Ken Doctor in NeimanLab, November 15, 2016.

Facebook employees are said to have engaged in extensive discussions over the company’s role in the election. Of particular note was a fake story that the Pope had endorsed Trump that reached millions with a significant pull on the election results. Zuckerberg issued a statement that 99 percent of the news on Facebook was authentic. (The New York Times, November 12, 2016, by Mike Isaac)