Zuckerberg: it's crazy to think Facebook fake news influenced voting

I have this crazy suspicion that he is slightly more optimistic about the influence of Facebook when pitching to advertisers…


As long as we’re talking about it, how about all the free media coverage that The Donald managed to get, despite buying far less ad space than either Clinton or Sanders? Without all that media exposure, this laughable joke of a candidate wouldn’t have had a chance.


Ironic timing to come across this BB item, as I just put on my hip waders and wandered through Facebook for a few minutes as a post-election cultural expedition.

I could only handle a few minutes, and had to choke back the vomit and leave after reading an article about how prayer and a meddling god swung the election. The very minute that some BS christian charlatan show went on the air election night, the power of prayer shifted the entire momentum in REDACTED’s favor. It turns out god hates Hillary, too. Who knew?

I’ve come to the conclusion that Facebook, like religion, serves a purpose. Just not for me.


Seconded. Sheesh, that one made me jump. Are these mouth-for-eyes images going to be posted forever? They are not wonderful things.

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So Zukerberg’s denial is one of those “what people hear first” things? Oy!

“I do think there is a certain profound lack of empathy in asserting that the only reason someone could have voted the way they did is they saw some fake news.”

Whoever said anything about only?


Demagogues have always been part of democracy.

A demagogue (Mirriam Webster) is…
(1) a political leader who tries to get support by making false claims and promises and using arguments based on emotion rather than reason
(2) a leader championing the cause of the common people in ancient times

In the first democracy, the people voted to exclude women, and the poor from power; voted for apparently unpopular and expensive wars with their neighbours; and voted for exile or death sentences on people who voiced opinions against them. In the end, the return of the tyrants may have been a welcome stability. And all of this was done because the average man is pretty average, and can be moved by rhetoric, confirmation bias, and the skillful orator; and is almost immune to reason.

I have seen this in the UK. Europe have given us pollution laws that have cleaned up our beaches, employment laws that have restricted the worse forms or our capitalism; human rights laws which have limited our police powers; and laws against racism and discrimination. They are even talking of having a basic a basic wage for all whether they work or now, for whatever reason. And the common people have voted against all this, and placed their hopes in a Tory 1% government. These are the people who outsourced your job; closed your local school; forced up house prices and increased the top limits of loans, and repossessed your house when you could not keep up the payments; and are trying to break up the NHS, and charge you for going to see your doctor. Those guys aren’t going to save you. They are so not. Look at them: there is a small kleptarch clique who right now is trying to force through Brexit unconstitutionally because they fear they do not have the following of the rest of the House of Commons.

Me today, you tomorrow.

So, what’s the deal with Zuckerberg, Fox News, Murdoch, et hoc genus omne? They are rich people, and I expect they all like the way things are going. However, they can claim to just be representing the political scene as they find it. But, in doing so, they reduce every argument to a face-to-face confrontation with soundbytes. They make Brexit and Trump happen, and say ‘it wasn’t me’, and ‘the constitution says I can, so there’.

So, what can we do? I don’t really know. I feel there ought to be some anti-twitter where you cannot post anything that isn’t a reasoned argument of less than 1K bytes with diagrams. I feel debates should be written rather than spoken, and the speaker should not be seen; so oratory and passion can not be used to move the mob. Debaters should be allowed to use notes and diagrams, and to reply in their own time. Something like that, maybe?

It won’t be easy. The demagogues have always been there. They are each dug in like a toad in a stone. It won’t be easy to shift them.


We need to move away from debates, and start having discussions, because the only way to win at a discussion is to learn something new from the other side (my personal understanding of the difference between debate and discussion)


I did some tech support contracting for a London-based PR agency whose entire existence relied on the fact they could get people to allow them write-access to their social media feeds in such a way that their friends would see carefully crafted posts as recommendations for products or companies, the key selling point being that recommendations have more influence than advertisements. Thanks to certain clauses in my contract, I can’t tell you who this company was or who their clients are, but you definitely know them and wouldn’t be surprised given how pervasive their brands are.

Oh Zuckerberg, you used to seem so intelligent…

(EDITS: I really can’t write pre-coffee)


If elections are influenced by bullshit that people post on FB or Twitter or television, or where ever, then, definitely, the country gets the leader they deserve. This is not remedied by curbing people’s freedom of speech, or imposing ‘moral obligations’ on Zuckerberg, but by better schooling and education and teaching kids to know a bullshit artist when they see one. Teach them about Joseph Goebbels and Steve Bannon and the likes and how to deal with their propaganda.


Which one? There are so many to choose from, and they all disagree.


The rise of the internet and the destruction of the main stream media as a trusted form of communication have had a remarkable influence in the world’s direction over the last few decades. Everyone, whether leftist Bernie supporters or rightist Nazi fan boys, spent this election cycle screaming about media bias. We have been schooled now for thirty years to distrust the media, and we see bias in any thing that fails to agree with our own narrative. Then you can toss in the seemingly endless stream of fake news sites, and the news sites that use hyperbole and fear mongering to generate clicks, and the news sites that may not lie but clearly distort information to feed their populace… and you get where we are today (and I haven’t even begun talking about the situation on reality TV that seems to be about promoting controversy and fighting as resolutions to a situation).

Like anything, it’s complicated. Free speech and a free press are two of the foundations of our republic, so important that they were enshrined in the first amendment along with freedom of religion. Any measures taken have to respect that, and yet since I first heard Rush Limbaugh blowing smoky lie filled shit out of a radio in the late 1980’s, I could see the iceberg coming and seemed completely powerless to convince anyone that, no, the media isn’t biased even though it is. Just not in the way he meant. The media is about ratings and will say ANYTHING to get them. It’s going to promote that juicy sex story over a boring one about some guy being sued for breech of contract. Email servers and deleted emails? That’ll get plenty of play, but really who cares about the intricacies of a tax proposal. Celebrity gossip matters, but not news about families coping with tough times in areas where jobs have been lost and haven’t come back (we’ll give them a minute or two fluff piece at the end of the news show if we have time).

We steep ourselves in a brew of 24 hour news, and we can now tailor the results to match our beliefs. FOX, MSNBC… pick your poison. Every editor has to make choices, and if they make the wrong ones and lose viewers, they lose their jobs. So do we blame the media… or do we blame the people for choosing bad news sources? We can try to teach more critical thinking skills, but when? Who is going to teach it? Many right wing parents think that’s socialist bullshit and kids should be taught to listen only to their parents and their beliefs, not think for themselves.

We need to find a way to ensure trust in the press again, and I hate to say it… but maybe the orange oompa loompa is right about weakening libel protection laws. It would actual work to the advantage of facts and truth, because the most egregious lying seems to come from the right (and there’s my bias at play, which I’m all too aware of). Jade Helm… FEMA death camps… the press isn’t going to repeat those false claims on the nightly news or in the papers if they think they might get sued more easily. Repeating word for word what a candidate says is not going to get you sued (and if they do, you’re going to win). Or at the very least, we need to bring back the Fairness Doctrine, which was eliminated in 1987… right before the rise of Rush and the alt-right news press.

And let’s ditch the pundits and the people who try to interpret the news for us. Stop hiring political operatives of the candidates to tell us what to think. Let’s do that ourselves. Just tell me what happened. Just the facts. I’ll figure it out on my own.

Still long… I’m shutting up now, I don’t have any answers, I’m bloviating.


Uh…So… this is awkward… If you ask people who voted for Trump why they voted the way they did, they’ll give you a bunch of fake news.


I dont think Twitter should be let off the hook either.
Much of this election boils down to echo chamber opinions that spun off every time Trump posted or said something stupid.
Perspective has no place in twitter world.
If people go crazy about every stupid thing someone says on Twitter and then the press goes and makes real news articles about the reaction then what do you think is going to happen?


Facebook and Twitter may not be essential, but I’m pretty sure they’re accelerants. Sure, everyone’s crazy uncle or hate-filled cousin used to spread this sort of stuff by e-mail or even Xerox meme, but those things, especially the pre-email methods, were less efficient by far. Now, we’re just bathed in the stuff. That has consequences. For instance, many of the “hold your nose and vote for Clinton” people I knew mixed legitimate criticisms with old right-wing smears that they had simply heard so many times that they became ingrained. Those people seemed to me to be doing a lot to suck the enthusiasm out of the Democratic side.[quote=“Richard_Kirk, post:17, topic:89189”]
So, what’s the deal with Zuckerberg, Fox News, Murdoch, et hoc genus omne? They are rich people, and I expect they all like the way things are going. However, they can claim to just be representing the political scene as they find it. But, in doing so, they reduce every argument to a face-to-face confrontation with soundbytes. They make Brexit and Trump happen, and say ‘it wasn’t me’, and ‘the constitution says I can, so there’.
I’m guessing that Zuckerberg is in the same full freakout mode as most of the tech folks; the smell of rationalization is strong in his comments. Unfortunately, unlike the non-new-media tech folks, who have good reason to fear what’s coming next, he’ll likely be able to glide through. He may come to believe this stuff.


Coming from the empathy-challenged Zuckerberg, there is a certain profound sense of irony here. His use of the word in this context shows that he doesn’t even grasp the concept.


So the fake “Vote online for Hillary” ads or the “Come to the polls November 9th” or “Your polling station has moved” ads didn’t suppress at least one vote?

Voter intimidation, vote suppression, and voter discouragement is real.


He probably considers a vampire like Thiel as one of his more empathetic friends.


But surely the very nature of Facebook means it depends on your friendship circle and who you follow, no? Pre- and post- US election my feed’s been nothing but hatred, disgust and sadness about Trump. Likewise, before and after the EU referendum I was seeing posts from likeminded Remainers.

Isn’t the bigger issue more that FB’s algorithms work too well and only show you thinks you’re likely to be interested in, thus confirming your views?

(That said, I’m not familiar with whatever “fake news” has apparently been a feature of FB lately.)

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Fuck Zuckerberg, Thiel and anything associated with Breitbart. Fuck cable television. Fucking fuck everything.


Well - yes and no. The way we group up and communicate on the internet has lead to the way we engage with “discourse” about various topics. It is used as an echo chamber, bolstering our beliefs. Do I need to post that CGP Grey video again or are you sick of it? Because what he shows you is EXACTLY what is happening on every “side”.

Facebook is actually different than most places as you will at least have an EXCHANGE with someone different - though usually not a productive one. Where as a niche site will just have people sitting around bitching about how bad the other side is.

So yes, Facebook is part of it, but they aren’t really any more or less responsible than the rest of the internet.