Facebook’s fake 'news' shows the limits of technology
Did you read that star TV anchor Megyn Kelly is a “traitor” and might get fired from Fox News? If you did, you were probably reading a fake story that wound up being promoted in Facebook’s Trending section – a fabrication that attracted more than 200,000 likes.
The high-profile flub came just two days after the social media site axed the human editors who previously combed through a computer-generated list of potential news topics before sharing them with users. Instead, Facebook now relies on an algorithm to generate its Trending stories.
For its part, Facebook (eventually) removed the inaccurate post, apologized for its mistake and promised to make its “detection of hoax and satirical stories quicker and more accurate.” Nonetheless, the decision to favor automation over actual human editors opened the door for such an error and the resulting embarrassment. It’s hard to believe that an intelligent and experienced editor would have approved an article The Washington Post described as being “false and ridiculous.”