Obama Doubles Down on Facebook's Fake News

Obama Doubles Down on Facebook's Fake News

President Barack Obama has once again commented on the problem with fake news segments on sites like Facebook and the effect it may have on voters.

Speaking at a news conference in Germany on Thursday, Obama said:

If we are not serious about facts and what’s true and what’s not ... if we can’t discriminate between serious arguments and propaganda, then we have problems,

and

If everything seems to be the same and no distinctions are made, then we won’t know what to protect. We won’t know what to fight for.

Obama then mentioned Facebook specifically, stating that we live in “an age where there is so much active misinformation, and it’s packaged very well, and it looks the same when you see it on a Facebook page or turn on your television.

Obama previously voiced his concerns about the influence fake news can have on voters’ decisions about candidates at a Democratic party rally on 7 November, condemning the way fake news spreads on websites like Facebook.

Obama’s continued denouncement of how Facebook and other websites distribute fake news must come as a disappointment for Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, who has repeatedly denied claims that his site played a part in how the election turned out.

However, a BuzzFeed analysis conducted in October found that 38% of the posts published by three major right-wing Facebook pages featured fake news segments, in comparison to the 19% published by three leading left-wing pages.

The irony of the situation is of course the fact that President Obama is condemning the very platforms that helped him to achieve victory in the 2008 and 2012 elections. Obama’s campaign team were praised during both elections for the way they used Facebook, Twitter and other sites to raise money and attract and engage voters.

Obama’s White House Administration has since used social media to cut out the media middle man and speak directly to the public. However, the proliferation of fake news seems to have changed the President’s opinion of social media and its use in politics, with him stating:

 “Part of what’s changed in politics is social media and how people are receiving information. It’s easier to make negative attacks and simplistic slogans than it is to communicate complex policies. But we’ll figure it out.

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