With the reach and influence that social media has these days, it has also become a platform in which some are using to spread propaganda and fake news. However the question is, where and who does the responsibility fall on? Does it fall onto users to try and weed out fake news themselves? Or is it the platform’s duty to prevent fake news from being spread?
That’s what Twitter tried to address during a recent committee hearing held by the British House of Commons at George Washington University, the first-ever hearing that is being held outside of the UK. According to Nick Pickles, Twitter’s head of public policy for the UK, it seems that Twitter does not want to be the judge of what is true or false.
Pickles was quoted as saying, “We are not the arbiters of truth. We are not going to remove content based on the fact this is untrue. The one strength that Twitter has is it’s a hive of journalists, of citizens, of activists correcting the record, correcting information.” He adds that while Twitter will take down tweets if they violate rules, such as those containing hate speech, but will stop short of judging whether or not a tweet is true or not.
He adds, “I don’t think technology companies should be deciding during an election what is true and what is not true, which is what you’re asking us to do. I think that’s a very important principle.” As The Washington Post points out, this seems to be a very different tactic from what Facebook is doing, in which they are aggressively coming up with ways to combat fake news, such as trying to crowdsource the factual accuracy of an article.
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