Why a focus on "fake news" and Facebook misses the internet's real problems - and solutions
Jennifer Cobbe - 19 February 2019
MP's new 'fake news' report largely ignores other platforms like Google and YouTube, and surveillance capitalism itself – and risks sending regulation in the wrong direction
Yesterday morning, the House of Commons Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee published its long-awaited final report into disinformation and ‘fake news’. The report – which follows a long and at times dramatic investigation – is full of interesting and insightful details about political microtargeting (the targeting of political messaging to relatively small groups of people) and the spread of disinformation.
But the report’s myopic focus on one company – Facebook – means that it misses the bigger picture – including the internet’s dominant variety of capitalism.
It is of course welcome that attention is being paid to these problems, and there is much in the Committee’s report that’s good. The report is undoubtedly right to find that Britain’s electoral laws are woefully inadequate for the age of the algorithm and are badly in need of reform. Its recommendation that inferences drawn from analysis of other data about people should be more clearly considered to be personal data likewise seems eminently sensible... See more