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Fake News and False Consciousness
Zuckerberg’s Gamble
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  • Matt_Thullen

    Good luck to Facebook with this. They better hope that whoever Trump’s team picks as the head of the antitrust division of the DOJ is a forbearing and/or forgiving soul.

    • Kevin

      Exactly. Antitrust or common carrier regulation like railroad barons.

      • ThomasD

        Yep, this is less about politics and more about Zuck trying to keep the eyeballs looking in the directions he’s paid to direct them.

        Can’t have people ranging far and wide for their sources of information. At least not when people are paying him to keep them doing otherwise.

    • jeburke

      Ridiculous. Anyone can start a rival Facebook. All you need is a website. There is no antitrust issue.

      • Matt_Thullen

        Anyone can also create a rival web browser to Internet Explorer. That didn’t stop the DOJ from going after Microsoft.

        Under U.S. antitrust law, once a company is considered a monopolist in a market, that company isn’t allowed to do a number of things that non-monopoly companies are allowed to do.

        Also note that under the very Silicon Valley friendly Obama DOJ, neither the DOJ nor the FTC looked hard at the intersection of network effects in social media and app platforms (i.e., the notion that the best and most valuable service is the one with all the users) and antitrust. It wouldn’t be a stretch to conclude that social media platforms that build an overwhelming market share due to network effects are akin to the old “natural monopolies” that the phone, electric and gas companies used to be. Natural monopolies were heavily regulated, and allowed a small rate of return in exchange for regulators allowing them to maintain their monopoly status.

        A Facebook that is allowed a 10% rate of return and has to ask government permission for ad rates is going to be valued very differently in the stock market than it is right now.

  • Anthony

    Observation: “The more widespread the empire concerned, the more significant is the role played by the public media. They package the issues. They select the data for the people to see. They mold the predilections. They editorialize. They command a large fraction of the average person’s non-work waking hours.”

    In recognition/acknowledgement of the aforementioned quote, can we (Americans) countenance an on-going disbelief in objective truth – are we to redefine the past, present, and future to suit both our sensibilities and preference while knowing national credulity has been rendered (though no clean hands on either political side)? More specifically, are we now (with assumed justification) to be unconstrained by inconvenience facts (that’s fake news/bias news)?

    Dare to be a Daniel
    Dare to stand alone
    Dare to have a purpose firm
    Dare to make it known.

    https://orwell.ru/library/essays/prevention/english/e_plit

    • Jim__L

      “If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
      but make allowance for their doubting too”

      There are *two* lines there, equally important.

  • FriendlyGoat

    Facebook is not a public utility. Now that the main guy realizes his creation can be commandeered to further regrettable results, they’re gonna respond to that ——-while being rewarded with tax cuts. (My personal position has always been that Facebook is a good thing to stay disconnected from.)

    • JR

      You included a little rant about tax cuts. That’s funny.

      • FriendlyGoat

        It’s not a rant. Zuckerberg, no matter who he supported or what Facebook does to suppress fake news or to favor left-side views (if he does that), is going to be rewarded with marvelous tax cuts from the right side. Jim_L, who comments here from residence in Silicon Valley, often points out that so much of that tech world is both haughty and lefty where he lives. And I just happen to know that they are all about to be given the moon in long term enrichment as a result of their critics voting GOP. Ditto the Robert Redford Sierra Club types and George Soros. One of the definitions of “sh*t happens” for your side, I guess.

        • SDN

          But the only evidence was flushed this morning.

        • EMyrt

          Facebook already pays relatively little US tax (includes off-shoring to Ireland–something the Trump admin may be in a position to do something about) and is less likely to benefit from across the board US corporate tax cuts that other, more profitable corporations. http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-tn-facebook-taxes-20160714-snap-story.html

          • FriendlyGoat

            Perhaps. When we have evidence that the Trump administration and the GOP Congress will have the techie/yuppie class and their shareholders from Facebook, Microsoft, Google, Apple, Amazon, the thousand or so smaller tech companies, the entire left-side entertainment industry and the trial lawyers all paying MORE income or estate tax than they were, please let me know.

  • (((kingschitz)))

    News also functions on a free market principle, even in Communist states. No Russian ever believed what Pravda told them. They “interpreted” it.

    Facebook will go the same way. Traffic will drop because lots of folks will go elsewhere for news, however defined.

    • Jim__L

      It can do a lot of damage in the meantime.

      FB is already considered an “old people’s website” these days.

      • (((kingschitz)))

        So my grown kids have told me! But this proves a point: FB is already a “mature” organization that if future growth there be, will be measured in fractions. It’s now behaving like its hidebound MSM peers.

  • JR

    I use Facebook to connect to old friends and share baby pictures. If you get your news from Facebook, you need to reevaluate your life,

    • Blackbeard

      Sadly surveys show that for most people social media, primarily Facebook, is now their major source of news.

      • Dusty Thompson

        and we all now how well “surveys” work…

      • M Snow

        I wonder what the overlap between people who say that Facebook is their primary news source and people who don’t bother to vote is? I don’t know what the answer is, but I’d like to.

  • jeburke

    “In the wake of the election, Clinton supporters eager to blame ostensibly less enlightened people for her loss and media mandarins distressed about the collapse of their authority expanded the definition of ‘fake news’ to include any content they found politically objectionable.”

    I’m sorry, but this is right-wing claptrap of the kind I expect to read on Breitbart but not on TAI.

    • Jim__L

      Have you ever met any Silicon Valley Clinton supporters? This is a 100% faithful representation of their point of view.

      • jeburke

        Hmmm…then again, maybe it’s a cartoonish representation of Silicon Valley people by right-wing crackpots.

        • Jim__L

          Not really. In my circles here in the Silicon Valley bubble, the “fake news” meme was taken up by some tremendously earnest types to apply to anything conservative, while the only real die-hard Hillary supporter (as opposed to Trump-opponent) was fantasizing about how wonderful it would be if she had a technology that could persuade anyone of anything. (“Only I would control it. Not anyone else. Just me.”)

          I cannot make this stuff up. These people satirize themselves. They’re lovely people in so many ways, but they’re completely off their rockers politically.

          • EMyrt

            Amen. I live in the SFBA and work with lots of SV folks. The BIO conference last June was painful to attend: every networking get-together was a snarky anti-Trump fest, with an unshakable assumption that everyone in the conversation was totally on board with Clinton (who was wonderful–no problem with her private server, foundation, etc.). I had to wash the blood out of my mouth every evening from biting my tongue! I heard her speak at BIO in SD the year before ($400K speaking fee). They were giving away her stupid book (I gave my copy to a waitress).
            Seeing her interviewed just confirmed my resolve that she should never be President. And she won’t be!

        • EMyrt

          No it isn’t (although I am a right-wing crackpot by your lights).
          After the election, a surprising number of my BA friends and acquaintances went completely nuts.
          I heard rants about the “rape squads” that Trump would send after women, especially lesbians.
          There would be Gay concentration camps.
          The Nazi white supremacists control Trump (that from a former business colleague, in PR, on Facebook, who should have known better; but she’s an ex-journalist, too, so maybe that explains the credulity).
          And those were the people who didn’t riot!
          These are not caricatures–I was shocked by the reaction, and I thought I was prepared.
          Political mono-cultures are a bad idea.

      • EMyrt

        I have, I work with them and you are absolutely right.

  • Rick Johnson

    The Left has been doing fake news since at least Al Gore released his science fiction classic ‘An Inconvient Truth’. Now they are trying to accuse the Right of muscling into their game.

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