Yes, Facebook had the tools to filter out fake news and decided not to use it, but do not fear for the future of truth, dear readers. The soldiers in the war on fake news have a new ally: 9/11 truther and prominent Trump supporter Alex Jones.
Alex Jones is the founder of InfoWars, best known for his impassioned, improvised live streams. Once laughed off as a wacko conspiracy theorist, Jones has acquired a large following, his site InfoWars receiving about 7.5 million unique views per month. A huge advocate of Trump, the president-elect even called Jones to thank the InfoWars audience for helping him win the presidency (that is, according to Alex Jones).
In a profile of the rising star for Spin Magazine, Andy Cush described Jones like this:
Alex Jones believes that the U.S. government perpetrated the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center… He believes that the government adds chemicals that turn children gay to juice boxes and water bottles, as a means of population control. He believes that Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia was murdered, and that the Obama administration may have been involved in the crime. He believes, as Barack Obama noted in a recent Clinton campaign speech, that the president and the Democratic nominee are demons who smell like sulfur. He is not entirely closed off to the idea that Earth is controlled by a race of inter-dimensional lizard people.
Tuesday, Jones announced he was joining the fight on fake news, launching the InfoWars Fake News Analysis Center. In Jones’ world, the liberal media—like the New York Times, Yahoo, Google and Facebook—are trying to block “fake” news. The only problem? They’re the ones disseminating the fake news. “One hundred times out of one,” Jones said in a video, “I see it where libertarians or conservatives are putting out the fake news.” Here’s how Alex sees it:
What’s happening is very, very simple. Mainstream dinosaur discredited media that have fake pollsters and fake media analysts and all the disinformation that’s been totally repudiated and proven to be a lie… Their now desperate attempts to flood the web through third party sites they control with so much fake news and disinformation that it discredits the entire web itself. And then they will preside over the false flag they’ve staged and claim that they can only be trusted.
In May, Gizmodo reported that Facebook had hired curators to run the company’s trending news team, which was guided by editorial judgments, not an algorithm. Since then, Facebook fired its editorial team, and began using an algorithm. Unfortunately that meant a ton of fake news got disseminated on the platform during the United States’ most insane election.
The media frenzy surrounding this has prompted both Google and Facebook to address this issue publicly. On Monday, Google announced it would stop displaying ads from fake news sites. Hours later, Facebook followed suit.
InfoWars will now run a piece every day on its radio show and nightly news program where Jones analyzes “fake corporate news and fake ads.” He’ll create a database where his followers can search through these articles so they can “counter these people.” Jones also encouraged InfoWarriors to start YouTube channels and radio shows. After all, we’re in “the fake news wars.”