1. Open letter to all social media platforms regarding fake news
I’m writing in regard to the serious problem of fake news running riot throughout social media.
2. The recent news about Cambridge Analytica is actually unsurprising. It just confirms what many have suspected for a long time. We now have a US election and an EU referendum which have been heavily influenced from online profiling and targeted propaganda.
3. The fact is that while you can try to moderate the content creators, you cannot possibly hope to curb the comments, likes, shares and RT’s. This is the mechanism by which the lies are propagated and they’re pivotal to your platforms.
4. While prevention is better than cure, you can’t prevent articles or the comments that reinforce them from spreading, neither can you cure them. “A lie can run around the world before the truth has got its boots on”; (Terry Pratchett).
5. I think education is the answer and I have an idea I would like to share with you involving Bots.
Bots are heavily but not solely responsible for the spread of fake news; therefore, it seems fitting that a Bot could be the answer to combat it.
6. I’ve recently come across a very handy bot on Twitter called Thread Reader Bot, which allows you to tweet the last post of a thread to it and it will compile the whole thread for you in an easy to read format. Simple and brilliant.
7. What if there was a bot on your platforms that you could call with a #? When called, the bot would collect the text content of the post and input these to multiple open source portals (e.g., Reddit, Snopes, Google, fullfact.org etc),
8. The output response to the caller would be links to these open source portals in the tagged thread. This would rely on users tagging a suspect post, however, I think with promotion, the idea would get more people actively searching and reading alternate sources to fact check.
9. This is not the same as the flagged posts trial run by Facebook. That method still relied on human fact checkers and in some cases actually ended up reinforcing the opinions of the consumers of the content due to mixed interpretation of the facts.
10. My proposal puts the emphasis on the user to do their own further reading and therefore make their own mind up.
I’m not interested in a patent or in trying to monetise this idea. Take it, develop it, refine it and collaborate on it.
11. I would recommend not calling it #fakenews because that term has been used too much by those who claim to be against it while perpetrating it. Maybe something like #Opensource or #Factchecker?
12. The Brexit vote showed the devastating power of fake news, a bus with a promise of NHS money was shown to the world and was immediately proved to be a lie following the result. If just 3% of the electorate voted leave based on that ‘fact’ we would have a different world today
13. Thanks for your time.
Please RT/Share far & wide. If you’re a developer, work with it! If these bots already exist, promote them!
Unroll please.

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