Politics in the social media arena
EU Justice Commissioner Věra Jourová has called on technology companies to help ensure that the campaign for the European elections is fair. In view of the rise in manipulated information it was their duty to adopt counter-measures, she said at the start of November in Lisbon. Several governments including France's are looking for ways to tackle fake news. Are social media changing the political culture?
Summary proceedings for fact-checking?
The French National Assembly last week passed a law according to which candidates and parties can appeal to the courts to counter alleged fake news. The Daily Telegraph sees this as the wrong approach:
“[Macron's] government has succumbed to a terrible confusion. If false information is spreading, it has concluded, what's needed is for the state to step in and decree what's true and what's not, and then to stamp out the latter. Never mind the fact that it is almost impossible and downright dangerous for a court to fact-check stories it might know nothing about in 48 hours, a process that would often take several days for an experienced journalist.”
Anonymous workers calling the shots
Kristeligt Dagblad takes a critical view of Facebook's deletion policy:
“An army of employees is busy deleting posts. These people have no political arguments. They've learned to explain their deletions by saying that the posts run counter to the company's rules or policies. They have no face, and you rarely come in contact with them. You can't discuss the framework of a political debate with them. They are, however, administrating the world's biggest platform for political debates, and politicians adapt to their conditions instead of controlling them. It is more than questionable whether in 50 years' time our grandchildren will still be happy about today's developments. Even if social media appear to be saving resources, in many ways they still seem too costly.”
A society of lonely and angry people
In El País's opinion social media are aggravating a serious social problem:
“The majority of citizens feel very lonely or feel that their personal relationships lack meaningfulness. The University of California has rubbed salt in the wounds with figures that show that these feelings intensify from generation to generation. And this loneliness is not harmless. It creates fear and anger and demands compensation. It radicalises thought, speech, car driving, voting behaviour. The social being feels betrayed because it feels alone amidst what it thinks is a crowd of smiling people who are all having fun. And it wants someone to pay for this. We are becoming an angry society.”