Nobody is exactly happy with the mess of the election season but instead of facing our own stupidity head on, and accepting some responsibility for lack of interest or need to stay informed, most are lashing out at Facebook and it’s implication in the spread of “fake news.”
I have some bad news, there is no such thing as fake news: just people too stupid and gullible enough to fail for anything. Don’t for a second think that Facebook or Twitter are interested in the least bit in solving this nonexistent problem: Insane biased coverage drives the user engagement, keeps them coming back, makes them comment and get into heated debates with complete strangers. You’re expecting a public corporation, one that makes money off your attention, to minimize or eliminate your own addiction? Child please.
There is such a thing as fact based news. But good news is like a kale vegan restaurant – bland and disappointing in every way. You don’t need a PhD in economics or behavioral psychology to figure out why McDonalds serves borderline poison to billions while your health obsessed juice bar is run by a dirty hippie and can barely make rent.
We don’t want what is good for us. We want an experience.
So Mark, give me a billion and I’ll not just fix the PR nightmare Facebook is facing as the defacto pimp of manipulative conspiracy theories to the weak minded GED holders, I’ll make some $ for Facebook and keep people and crazy web sites even more glued into Facebook. Let’s face it, you know you cannot do a damn thing about fake news and any bit of censorship is just going to hurt your image until DC decides to regulate you: big media companies are already pissed off at you taking away their ad revenue. Let’s also agree on the fact that you don’t want fake news off Facebook, I get it, it’s a symbiosis – they need the eyeballs that Facebook delivers and you need their nonsense for those eyeballs to share with their echo chamber.
What I propose is a realtime news service, just like PBS. Just hosted and delivered in a millennial short attention span format. By a comedian. Who happens to be ridiculously attractive. And ethnically / culturally similar to them. We’ll have a frat bro, an old person, a barbie, etc.
Report facts. Not opinions of facts. Not responses to facts. Not round table discussions and interviews about facts. Just facts and the BS checker – turn it into a game show. “Trump says the AF1 is $4 billion? BS Checker says…. “
Person X said Y at Z. Turns out, it’s complex. Here is the true part. Here is the lie. Here is the stuff to put it into some context. Insert joke. Get a meme backgrop. Next.
Naturally, fake news sites now have to respond to the fact. But Facebook maintains credibility and mirrors what it’s user base is thinking – all the feels – like, love, sad, angry – users react to the facts instead of reacting to someone interpreting the fact in order to keep them tuned in.
What’s the outcome? Opinions, beliefs, values, thoughts and interpretations are separate from the actual fact. It’s almost like school but it’s fun. And it’s short. And it’s engaging and it prompts you for your response. Everything that Facebook is and everything people love about it.
With one additional benefit: Users don’t have to think. Like at all. Just click, laugh, OK, next. And isn’t that why everyone is on Facebook in the first place? Then the thousand left and right oped troll sites attach to the very same video – on which we can now sell ads, bam you get your billion back in a heartbeat. Call me.