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MPs warn fake news is a democratic crisis for UK

28th July 2018

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Note: This post has been moved from Latest Picks due to length of extended updates.

Fake news a democratic crisis for UK, MPs warn (bbc.co.uk).

Fake news a democratic crisis for UK, MPs warn, image: PA
Image: PA

Being the British MPs forming the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) Committee nawty Zuck declined to visit with pouted lip (updated 1st May 2018), heading to explain himself and say “sorry, rlly” to the bigger market that is the European Union that next year Blighty will no longer be a part of and have any say in instead.

The UK faces a “democratic crisis” with voters being targeted with “pernicious views” and data being manipulated, a parliamentary committee is set to warn.

“Set to warn” because it’s a first report leaked by the poshly named Dominic Cummings, director of the official Brexit campaign group Vote Leave, who was asked and officially summoned to appear before said committee but also refused. The report being due to be released on Sunday but Cummings calling it “fake news” and releasing it on his blog instead, very much suggesting said committee is toothless and somewhat limply lacking parliamentary BDE (independent.co.uk, Jun. 2018).

The report suggests that the rules on political campaigns are not fit for the digital age and with a devastating critique of Facebook, who were said to have made multiple attempts to hamper the investigation, recommends that social media should be audited and held responsible for “harmful” content published on their platform, “harmful” covering the disinformation and xenophobia demonstrated in one of the many adverts by Vote Leave full of Lil’ English jingoism suggesting the EU wants to kill “our” Lil’ English cuppa, Gawd blimey!

The European Union wants to kill our cuppa
A Vote Leave advert appearing on Facebook

Indeed, a Spitfire was intended to be used flying above and protecting Lil’ English cuppa but it was discovered at the last minute a wrong image had been used from Google Images and a migrant designer was blamed, but it was suggested granny would probably not notice, so enraged as she would be about Johnny Euro Foreigner about to break in through her back door to pinch her kettle and brutally kill her cuppa.

The report also suggests a grand tax on tech companies to pay for the responsibilities of the regulators and fund digital education in schools to help kids recognise fake news. It does not make mention of whether drop in reeducation centers will be opened to assist the middle-aged and elderly that distinguish xenophobic colonial cobblers either.

This perhaps an attempt to get them to pay the level of tax which they have avoided in Blighty through loopholes and sweetheart deals.

But of course, the keywords in the report are “recommends” and “suggests” and:

And the report will repeat its call for Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg to give evidence.

If he wouldn’t mind, when he has time. If not, poor ol’ Culture Secretary Matt Hancock will have to eat all the biscuits himself when those social media “tech giants” snub him again (Latest Picks 20th May 2018).

Updated 29th July 2018

Vote Leave bosses ‘broke agreement to stop campaigning after Jo Cox’s murder’ (theguardian.com).

Jo Cox being the MP shot in June 2016 by a white supremacist shouting “put Britain first!”

New documents released by the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee suggest Vote Leave broke an agreement to suspend campaigning in the wake of the MP’s murder.

All parties agreeing to a three-day break in campaigning but it seems the data analytics component of Vote Leave did not think it applied to them and after discussion leaked in the report seemingly deciding it was just too good an opportunity to “flood” Facebook with those ads.

According to the report, 23 were published on the day after the murder while 29 were posted in the following two days.

The adverts reaching 20 million people and either suggesting MPs and journalists must have not considered those ads as part of campaigning at the time as nothing was said or, indeed, they didn’t see them because they were all in the wrong Facebbok filter bubble.

Updated 18th February 2019

And with the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee concluding its Facebook needs far stricter regulation:

Facebook needs regulation as Zuckerberg ‘fails’—UK MPs (bbc.co.uk).

MPs said that what was needed to deal with the proliferation of disinformation online and the misuse of personal data was a “radical shift in the balance of power between social media platforms and the people”.

Which, indeed, is as vague as was to be expected from a committee with such a cobbled name.

The headline’s “fail” being Zuckerberg’s inability to demonstrate “leadership or personal responsibility” over the platform’s use in spreading fake news which if you think about it is like suggesting these democracy defending MPs now taking so much of an interest in social media think the chap below is capable of demonstrating either.

Roses are #FF0000/Violets are #0000FF

But despite the nerdy persona he exudes, Zuckerberg majored in psychology rather than computer science (businessinsider.com, Jan. 2015) which perhaps explains why he saw the potential of those trusting “dumb fucks” (theregister.co.uk, May 2010) using his social media platform.

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