Bob's Gutsy Leadership Blog

Fakebook, I Mean Facebook, Has Fundamental Problems!

The term “fake news” has become part of the popular vocabulary.  In the world of “fakeness” there is no doubt that Facebook stands out from the crowd.  Specifically, users can post anything thing they want to whatever audience they can assemble  Also, anyone can create independent ”fake” accounts, and use these to initiate all kinds of “fake” political, social, or individual mayhem.  These two kinds of “fakeness” are now becoming very problematic for Facebook.  In more detail:

The Fact Checker Idea Doesn’t Work –Fake News is Winning! Facebook is certifying third party factcheckers on its platform; it does not fact-check content itself. Facebook has given its fact-checking partners access to tools that will let them label stories as fake. Unfortunately, they can’t keep up.  That has been on vivid display with the onset of the coronavirus.  Here are some of the social media “facts” that made it viral throughout the world, before, at last, their “fakeness” was acknowledged and dealt with:  “There is a coronavirus vaccine available for dogs, but it is being withheld from humans” and “60 Democrats in the U.S. Senate have blocked coronavirus relief payments.”

Buried with potential false claims, the fact-checkers have readily admitted: “its way more stuff than we can get to.  We really can’t make a serious dent in the misinformation that is rampant on Facebook.”

Stepping back, one analyst summarized the situation as follows: ”This is a tsunami.  Facebook has created a digital Frankenstein that no matter how many more fact-checkers they hire, it is far beyond their capacity to deal with the problem.”

Just How Many Fake Accounts Does Facebook Really Have? – Facebook readily admits that a sizable portion of its active user accounts are fake; there is not a live human registered to the account!  On page 4 of its latest 10-K, Facebook reported that it estimates 16% of accounts are, in their words, “false accounts.”  The Financial Times points out that Facebook’s estimate methodology is a black box.  There is no third-party auditor to check their work. The company does admit that their method involves “significant judgment.”  In fact, when questioned, Facebook indicates their estimate may not only be wrong, but far worse.  Since advertising is 98% of Facebook’s revenue, fake accounts are a very big financial risk, since advertisers are not getting as big a live audience as they are paying for.

Clearly, Facebook deserves to be labelled Fakebook!

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