Nobel Prize winner Koichi Tanaka developed the predictive blood test for Alzheimer’s. After what happened last week in Washington, with Speaker Nancy Pelosi suggesting an “intervention” for President Donald Trump and his suggestion, in return, that she is in decline, what’s next?
Will each side’s partisans suggest the other elected official give a blood sample to the esteemed Tanaka? Not so fast. Also last week, Tanaka emerged to say his blood test is only predictive. Maybe candidates for office should get it!
Pelosi’s detractors enabled a manipulated clip to go viral, the clip appearing to show Pelosi slurring words. Even former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, once a U.S. Attorney for New York, boosted the video to his 218,000 followers on Twitter.
Facebook refused to take down the video, an action that one journalist said “highlighted a gaping hole” in FB’s program to confront “fake news.” As I’ve discussed before, some people call “fake news” what they don’t like. So, we have to be careful about “objective reality” versus “subjective reality.”
A year ago FB said “false news is harmful to our community.” Does that mean 100 percent false, or 10 percent false? And who determines veracity?
A FB spokesperson explained the social media giant is trying to balance the “tension” between “free expression” and an “authentic community” and that FB would “allow people to post it as a form of expression but …not.. at the top of News Feed.”
FB global policy management guru Monika Bickert said FB’s modus operandi is to “dramatically reduce the distribution of … ‘misinformation'” based on “a rating from its “certified fact-checking organizations.” It all sounds very iffy, because one person’s facts are another person’s opinion. Who are the fact checkers? What do the ratings mean?
If there were no Facebook, we would go back to the old-fashioned market place of ideas where people challenge each other. The alternative is faceless Facebook making these determinations in the dark.
I’ll conclude with one point. Suppose someone is posting something that can reasonably lead to a Bad Actor doing something bad? Let’s get away from mere “misinformation” to the kind of deception that is incendiary and inciting, leading to a graduated level of anti-social behavior, even violence.
That’s why FB needs to focus on what I’ll call “clear and present danger.” FB must find a way to take itself out of the censorship business — and that’s what reducing distribution is — a form of censorship, and instead let others on FB — that is, in the “community” — confront something misleading and challenge the post, debate it, counter-in, put up their own posts. That’s the social media version of discourse.
But, now, the key point.
There is a technology that would allow FB in real time to quickly examine the authenticity NOT of spirited political debate, that might well include hyperbole, exaggeration and sarcasm and even misleading posts, but I’m takling about something more important — even paramount — the source and intent of persons who are a danger to themselves and others. Even FB’s Bickert conceded on CNN that FB would remove “misinformation related to safety.”
That should be the priority.
But to get the job done, Facebook needs to look outside its own organization for an independent monitor that has the third-party credibility and the ability to can get the job done… and in real time.