During the recent hearings in Washington representatives of Facebook, Google and Twitter were asked if they were media companies-- they replied that they identify as technology companies.
Facebook and Google don't want to be classed as media companies because then they have to pay for the responsibilities of being media companies.
But these are rich companies and they can afford the extra costs of employing editorial staff. It would create a little bit of a level playing field with traditional media companies who have to carry the costs of civil responsibility.
Apart from regulatory issues Facebook faces another problem: it's a media company run by engineers.
This is why it has trouble dealing with media problems such as fake news. It doesn't have any media professionals that understand the issue and know what to do about it -- and have the seniority to execute. Facebook employs former journalists and editors but they were not hired to deal with fake news.
Engineering fake news...
The Pew Research Center recently surveyed 1,000 technologists about the problem of fake news and 51 percent said nothing can be done while 49 percent said the opposite. Which means these "tech experts" don't really know one way or the other.
Facebook is a media company that doesn't know how to be a media company.
But it can learn. And it doesn't have to learn the hard way by making business mistakes that the media industry solved many decades ago.
There's several things that can be done very quickly that would go a long way to curbing fake news at Facebook, Google and elsewhere.
Engineers know how to code but media professionals know how to code the culture and spot the fakes. Media engineers will one day be a hot new profession.
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Here's an example of a Facebook engineering solution to a cultural problem: