Over the past couple of months in Germany....the topic of fake news comes up a fair bit now. It's intensified since the US election, and Facebook is talked about in some circles as having a lot of potential fake news.
The problem is....the more you look at the topic....you start to engage other issues with it.
Fake political agendas? Fake scientific discoveries? Fake research projects? Fake test results by car-makers (VW)? Fake ministers and religions? Fake TV shows made to look real but it's entirely fake (Amish Mafia for example)? Fake wrestling? Fake bids on World Cup Games (the Germans)? Fake cops? Fake four-star hotels? Fake prestigious honors? Fake degrees? Fake charity operations? Fake tattoos? Fake hookers? Fake boobs? Fake transparent? Fake wool? Fake fur? Fake tobacco? Fake nutritional claims?
The list goes on and on.
You can go through various prestigious newspapers like the New York Times or Washington Post, and find articles which are either false or misleading in nature.
In some ways, I think the German agenda on fake news is fairly fake. It sounds good, and everyone pumps up their agenda by talking about this. But after a while.....you start to ask questions. How exactly did two or three facts turn something into a fake story? Where does the fakeness start or end? Can you tell an entirely truthful news item....yet be fake? Can you tell an entirely false news item....yet be true? If you can't divulge your sources....how do you avoid the label of fake?
Did fake news exist prior to Facebook? Oh, well....now that we bring up that topic.....yeah....that's true. So it's not a new trend? Well....no. The news networks and newspapers did fake news before Facebook came along.
If countries or courts try to take down Facebook or enforce some control to prevent only "true" news? It'll take hours for some new source to replace Facebook, and Facebook public usage will lessen in a matter of days as people leave the 'platform'. Yeah, as much as democracy wants to protect us.....we will end up protecting ourselves.