Slashdot is powered by your submissions, so send in your scoop


Forgot your password?
Facebook Social Networks United States Politics News

US President Barack Obama Criticizes Facebook of Spreading Fake Stories ( 436

An anonymous reader writes:Concerned over the spread of fake news on the social networking giant, US President Barack Obama has criticized Facebook, saying fake stories on social networks are spreading lies this election. Speaking at a rally for Hillary Clinton at University of Michigan, Obama said: "The way campaigns have unfolded, we just start accepting crazy stuff as normal and people if they just repeat attacks enough and outright lies over and over again. As long as it's on Facebook, and people can see it, as long as it's on social media, people start believing it, and it creates this dust cloud of nonsense," he told the gathering. A recent BuzzFeed investigation found that 38 percent of posts shared from three large right-wing politics pages on Facebook included "false or misleading information."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

US President Barack Obama Criticizes Facebook of Spreading Fake Stories

Comments Filter:
  • So going by this logic politicians should just shut up and let their record stand for itself.

    • by hey! ( 33014 )

      So going by this logic politicians should just shut up and let their record stand for itself.

      Which shows the problem with news in this country: even if it were better, people are so damn lousy at thinking they'll believe any dichotomy no matter how ridiculous (e.g. either you promote false news stories or you give politicians a pass).

      • I'm wondering why "News" in today's culture has a meaningless definition? There was a time when lying on TV was a great way to get taken off the air; think Dan Rather.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          It isn't lying if you don't tell the story at all. When you're in active collusion with a candidate's campaign and present yourself as "unbiased news source", be it from MSNBC/CBS/ABC/CNN or Fox News, you've lost whatever credibility you're trying to peddle. And if you're not credible news outlet, then what are you actually peddling?

          It is so bad, they aren't even trying to hide it anymore.

          Which leads to "fake news stories" on Facebook. When the people are desperate for REAL coverage, rather than reading Tal

          • by hey! ( 33014 ) on Tuesday November 08, 2016 @12:28PM (#53238197) Homepage Journal

            There are many kinds of lying. There is lying by commission and lying by omission. If you purport to tell the truth but only tell carefully selected truths, you are lying, even if what you say is completely factually accurate.

            Now social media companies don't actually lie; what they do doesn't even rise to the standard of a lie. A liar tries to get you to believe a proposition he believes to be false. What social media companies want to do is provoke a reaction.

            In other words the nearly half of adults who get their news from social media are getting their news from trolls and bullshitters.

    • How does Facebook spread anything? The stories are done by Facebook subscribers, and are accepted by those who follow them. Same w/ Twitter. It's not like Facebook the company endorses anything - if anything, Zuckerberg is a big Lib and a Clinton supporter. But he wouldn't want to lose half his membership to another company just by treating them like crap to the extent that they go elsewhere
      • How does Facebook spread anything? The stories are done by Facebook subscribers, and are accepted by those who follow them.

        He didn't say Facebook spread anything. He said, "Some people believe whatever they see on Facebook."

        • by tsqr ( 808554 )

          How does Facebook spread anything? The stories are done by Facebook subscribers, and are accepted by those who follow them.

          He didn't say Facebook spread anything. He said, "Some people believe whatever they see on Facebook."

          From TFA: "After fake stories made the rounds on Facebook during the US Presidential elections 2016, Barack Obama blamed the social media giant for spreading lies about the election season." So, blamed Facebook for spreading lies, but didn't say Facebook spread anything?

          • Would this still happen if money was obsolete? Is the allowance of making Revenue while ignoring Fraud, and Theft now acceptable public behavior?
  • 1984 (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Roodvlees ( 2742853 ) on Tuesday November 08, 2016 @10:11AM (#53236883)
    "To combat the lies being spread about me; I'd like you to rev up the censorship"
    • by DogDude ( 805747 )
      You don't really know what censorship is, do you?
      • by s.petry ( 762400 )
        Propaganda only works when real world information is suppressed. GP may know better than you what censorship is.
        • by gtall ( 79522 )

          In addition, propaganda also works when people choose to believe it over real world information.

          Now I must go off to think about what real world information is. Maybe I'll know it when I see it. In any case, the internet allows people to believe their preconceived notions are true. I guess real world information, to count as information and not disinformation, must entail a web of consistent, interlocking facts. Hmmm...seems indiscernible from conspiracy "theories". Maybe real world information is a bit lik

    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

      Note that Melania Trump has stated that her mission as First Lady will be to make the internet a "safe space" for children.

      Anyway, Obama is right. This election went post-factual months ago, and as more and more people turn to social media for their "news" rumours and deliberate lies have become the new "facts" in their minds. That doesn't imply he wants censorship any more than I do when I point out how stupid this whole thing has become.

    • Did he advocate government censorship of Facebook? Or did he just comment that people post a lot of nonsense on Facebook?

      People are always confusing "freedom of speech" with "the right to say any stupid thing I want without anyone pointing out that I'm wrong."

      • by Kohath ( 38547 )

        No. He's outsourcing the censoring to the government-aligned partisans that manage Facebook. His inner circle still gets to control what you see and what you don't, but he gets to pretend to have clean hands.

        • I reread his quotes. I still can't find anywhere that Obama has even asked Facebook to filter misleading stories. He just comments that there's misleading/false stories being posted on Facebook.

          But incidentally, Facebook does have the right to censor/filter content on their site. That still doesn't qualify as a violation of your freedom of speech. If you don't like Facebook's policies, you have the right and the ability to not-use Facebook, to use another service, or to create another service with diff

    • by Kohath ( 38547 )

      This exactly. It's the "who will rid me of this troublesome priest" of online mass censorship by corporate cronies -- with the goal of further preserving and consolidating power in the hands of a very few, fabulously wealthy, unaccountable elites in Washington and the bay area.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    When they were spreading stuff against my political foes, it was cool. But now that my party is getting some bad press, it ain't cool no more. Need to stop this! Think of the children!!

  • Headline (Score:5, Informative)

    by rossdee ( 243626 ) on Tuesday November 08, 2016 @10:14AM (#53236915)

    "Obama criticizes Facebook of...

    Perhaps you mean criticizes FB for spreading fake stories

  • Facts can be used to lie. You can state things that are true and still make someone arrive at an incorrect conclusion or solution.

  • by Diss Champ ( 934796 ) on Tuesday November 08, 2016 @10:16AM (#53236945)

    That implies two things:
    1. The quality of Facebook has increased substantially.
    2. We're screwed.

  • Go MSM! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Orgasmatron ( 8103 )

    We were so much better off when all of our fake stories were carefully handcrafted by the propaganda wing of the Democrat party (CNN, MSN, CBS, FNC, etc.).

    • by DogDude ( 805747 )
      "FNC" is a wing of the Democratic party? What in the fuck are you talking about?
      • Re:Go MSM! (Score:4, Insightful)

        by s.petry ( 762400 ) on Tuesday November 08, 2016 @10:46AM (#53237243)
        Have you ever watched Bill O'Reilly or Megan Kelly? They repeat the same talking points as the other MSM and for the most part allow narratives to run unchecked. The only people on that network who are pro-Trump is Hannity and part timer Jeanine Pirro.
        • Wait, Rush isn't attached to Trump's crotch?

        • O'Reilley is pretty much neutral or fair. Brit Hume, who is outgoing, was anti-Trump during the primaries, but neutral in the general election - neutral b/w Never Trumpers and pro Trumpers. Tucker Carlson, who takes over from Brit next week, is pro Trump, and to an extent, so was Greta. Megyn Kelly is anti Trump - given her patching up w/ him interview, it's a tad inexplicable, but I wish she is gone from there. Hannity is pro Trump again. Most people in Bret Baer's panel are anti-Trump, w/ the excepti
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Don't forget Buzzfeed. I love how they are now suddenly a "legitimate news source" just because they've been pro-Hillary and anti-Trump.

      People only want to hear the lies that suit their worldview. All that pretentious nonsense about morals, truth and objectivity is nothing but bullshit.

  • by ewhenn ( 647989 ) on Tuesday November 08, 2016 @10:28AM (#53237045)
    The government is concerned about spreading lies and that it may dupe people into making choices that they wouldn't make if they knew the real facts? Talk about blistering irony...
  • by axlash ( 960838 ) on Tuesday November 08, 2016 @10:34AM (#53237101)

    It's getting to the point where in the future, nobody will be able to tell what's true and what's false.

    That's really problematic, because if two people who need to dialogue with each other don't have a 'frame of reference', how *can* they discuss anything?

  • by Trailer Trash ( 60756 ) on Tuesday November 08, 2016 @10:41AM (#53237167) Homepage

    A recent BuzzFeed investigation found that 38 percent of posts shared from three large right-wing politics pages on Facebook included "false or misleading information."

    Yeah, but, let me guess, Media Matters, TPM, etc. were found to be bastions of honesty, right?

    I had to hide all posts from about half my facebook "friends" on both sides of the political aisle because so much of it was just outright falsehoods. It was different kinds of falsehoods, but still lies.

  • by acoustix ( 123925 ) on Tuesday November 08, 2016 @10:46AM (#53237245)

    "My position hasn’t changed" on using executive authority to address immigration issues.
    Says his comment about extremists being a JV team "wasn’t specifically referring to" Islamic State.
    "Most young Americans right now, they’re not covered" by health insurance.
    "We’ve got close to 7 million Americans who have access to health care for the first time because of Medicaid expansion."
    The "most realistic estimates" for jobs created by Keystone XL are "maybe 2,000 jobs during the construction of the pipeline."
    "We have doubled the distance our cars will go on a gallon of gas."
    "Under Gov. Romney's definition ... Donald Trump is a small business."
    Because of Obamacare, "over the last two years, health care premiums have gone up -- it's true -- but they've gone up slower than any time in the last 50 years." Obamacare hadn't been implemented yet.
    "Fast and Furious" began under the Bush administration.
    Says Mitt Romney would deny gay people the right to adopt children.
    If the Supreme Court throws out the federal health care law, it "would be an unprecedented, extraordinary step of overturning a law that was passed by a strong majority of a democratically elected Congress."
    "Thirty million Americans, including a lot of people in Florida, are going to be able to get healthcare next year because of that law."
    Under President Barack Obama, the United States has "doubled our exports."
    "I didn't raise taxes once."
    "The vast majority of the money I got was from small donors all across the country.''
    "We've excluded lobbyists from policy making jobs."
    Insurers delayed an Illinois man's treatment, "and he died because of it."
    Health reform will "give every American the same opportunity" to buy health insurance the way members of Congress do.
    Preventive care "saves money."
    "I have not said that I was a single-payer supporter."
    Shovel-ready jobs
    Keep your doctor
    Foreign money in campaigns

    The list goes on and on...

  • He's absolutely right. There was even one crooked politician who was spreading lies about Russia trying to help her opponent and even hacking her email (even though she also claimed that her insecure email server was never hacked) when she was actually the one making deals with Russia that were bad for this country. Also "swift-boating" her opponent with a barrage of false last minute sexual claims (gee, they are all so obviously false but there are so many of them ....). Lets blame Facebook rather than th
  • by MitchDev ( 2526834 ) on Tuesday November 08, 2016 @10:52AM (#53237303)

    Facebook is a SOCIAL NETWORK, NOT a news source.

    Facebook is all about opinion and whatever people post. If you treat it a an actual source with journalistic integrity, you are a dumbass.

    • by PPH ( 736903 )

      Facebook needs to borrow the line that /b/ uses:

      The stories and information posted here are artistic works of fiction and falsehood.
      Only a fool would take anything posted here as fact.

    • by Kohath ( 38547 )

      No. Facebook is an advertising platform. And a playground for silicon valley douchebags to run social experiments on people.

  • Is slashdot farming its editing out to China? Either that, or you misspelled "for". Bad grammar is fine in a comment, NOT in a story or headline.

  • by pipingguy ( 566974 ) on Tuesday November 08, 2016 @10:56AM (#53237347)
    Department of Truth
  • ...Facebook isn't doing anything, but allowing users that are abiding by its terms of service to post whatever they want. There is no law against this because this is a free country, and there is this thing called freedom of speech! Second: Facebook isn't a news site, and it doesn't produce most of the content contained on Facebook. Facebook is a user driven site, and users are free to post pretty much anything they want as long as it doesn't violate Facebook's terms of service. If other people are dumb en
  • by bradley13 ( 1118935 ) on Tuesday November 08, 2016 @11:01AM (#53237399) Homepage

    38 percent of posts shared from three large right-wing politics pages on Facebook included "false or misleading information."

    Of course, the posts shared from left-wing pages were completely accurate. /sarc TFA is crap. It implies that the right-wing sites are unreliable, but ignores the negative information about the left-wing sites.

    The BuzzFeed article is long, and gives lots of interesting detail []. It even appears to be pretty balanced, not pushing any particular political agenda. No surprise, extremist sites on both sides make shit up to support their views. The site with the highest proportion of false content was right-wing, but it was also the site with the least content. The site with the most false content (in absolute numbers, more than all other sites combined) was a leftist site.

    With that background,

  • It's not the fault of FaceBook. It's the fault of people who WANT and NEED to believe the bullshit in order to prop up their otherwise unsustainable sense of white victimization. If FB did not exist, they'd still believe all of Trump's lies.

  • WTF is a "fake story?" Is The Lord of the Rings one of the fake ones or one of the real ones?

    People believe stupid shit, and they also believe plausible-but-incorrect shit. Just say that.

    Implying that stories come in two categories sounds like something a media company would say, to make you think they are somehow better than everyone else. Oh wait .. turns out the bullshit words are from this "" rather than Obama himself. Well, isn't that an amazing coincidence?

  • > "we just start accepting crazy stuff as normal"

    Maybe if all of them would stop lying and quit acting like the country is their personal playground/piggybank/etc, we wouldn't be "accepting crazy stuff as normal," and *some* sense of sanity could start coming back.


System checkpoint complete.