Facebook Says It Will Not Remove Fake News

Lester Mason
July 15, 2018

The home of articles with headlines such as "FBI Says No One Killed at Sandy Hook" and "Hillary Clinton: Demonic Warmonger", Facebook's rationale for providing a platform for InfoWars in spite of its reputation for publishing false and misleading content spurred heated reactions on social media afterwards from critics who want it banned outright.

President Trump appeared on "The Alex Jones Show" while campaigning in 2015 and told the host: "Your reputation is unbelievable".

In response to Darcy's coverage of the event, a Facebook spokesperson tweeted back that the company viewed banning InfoWars from its platform as "contrary to the basic principles of free speech".

After giving a presentation to U.S. media outlets on Wednesday about its efforts to combat misinformation, Facebook took questions from reporters.

Facebook drew scrutiny Wednesday for allowing the conspiracy-theory site Infowars to have a page on its platform.

Following the NY event, Facebook spokeswoman Lauren Svensson told CNN the questions about InfoWars hit "on a very real tension".

Facebook says it will not remove fake news from its website because it does not violate its community standards. Litigation pending in several states paint a different picture of Mr. Jones, however, including a defamation suit filed earlier this month on behalf of the relative of a person killed at the Sandy Hook Elementary School mass-shooting in 2012 - a massacre Mr. Jones once described as "a giant hoax".

The phrase "fake news" has seen its meaning blur over time. Facebook claims to be focused on curbing the distribution of false information, and Infowars has been implicated in the spread of blatantly false or wildly improbable conspiracy theories on many occasions. The outlet has said that 9/11 was a false flag, and that the moon landings were faked. Jones also promoted the Pizzagate conspiracy theory, for which he apologized after being threatened with lawsuits.

"We created Facebook to be a place where different people can have a voice", John Hegeman from Facebook said while responding to CNN. "And different publishers have very different points of view".

But InfoWars contributor Paul Watson suggested CNN was "lobbying a company to shut down a smaller competitor". We have regularly been told that social media sites will improve to try and raise the quality of content they promote and crack down on inaccurate accounts, supporters, followers and hateful imagery. A group of brands including Nike suspended their advertising on YouTube after they discovered their ads were being run alongside Infowars' channels.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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