Shira Ovide: Lies-as-a-Service: "I admit that I don't know what Twitter or Facebook should do in dealing with potentially harmful propaganda from Chinese officials, or anyone else. Should Facebook, for example, declare that Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte shouldn't be allowed to have an account because he or his allies use the social network to launch vicious online attacks against critics? Should Twitter label incendiary tweets from anti-immigrant political parties in Italy as abusive behavior, as they have (sort of) sought to do with Donald Trump? Should the companies have different rules about the hand-holding they provide to prominent people, depending on whether they're a member of the Kardashian family or a Chinese diplomat? It's tricky, and I'm not suggesting there are easy answers. But what Shelly and Sarah wrote about gets to the heart of the contradiction in social media companies' approach to potentially harmful or outright false information. They want to be the go-to sources of information online, but they don't want to be arbiters of what's true.... Nor do they believe it's practical to fact-check the billions of tweets and Facebook posts.... Twitter's approach with these Chinese officials, and that of Facebook in places such as the Philippines, seem to be that potentially harmful state-backed propaganda can be fine, unless those state-linked actors are spreading the propaganda with accounts pretending to be someone else. In that approach, the veracity of the information isn't what matters, nor the harm it causes. What matters is the veracity of the identity of the accounts behind that information. That is a tough line to walk...


#noted #2019-09-23

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