Crikey readers, never ones to let Facebook off the hook, nevertheless had some nuance to add to the debate about the social media giant’s role in the dissemination of fake news, hate speech, and political falsehoods — namely, that these things were propagated long before the invention of the Facebook feed. Elsewhere, readers discussed government authoritarianism and Boris Johnson’s continued Brexit war.
Andrew Reilly writes: Australian politicians have explicit exemptions from trade practices legislation about truth in advertising. They have always explicitly been allowed to lie in advertising. The lying that is being discussed here — by Trump, One Nation and around “death taxes” — is being done through advertising, not journalistic or editorial output. Facebook is a publisher, but it does no journalism or editorial. It just provides a pipe large enough to shovel whatever content advertisers are prepared to pay for, for as many viewer-minutes as subscribers are prepared to consume it, community standards applied to non-politician advertisements notwithstanding. It’s true that there doesn’t seem to be any semblance of shame or contrition from the liars. Was there ever, though? Perhaps that’s where some of that journalism should be being brought to bear.
Mark E Smith writes: Like it or not Zuckerberg is right about fake news being a slippery concept. Everybody gets their own internet megaphone now if they want, not just RWNJs. I’d say a diet of “fake news, hate speech and climate denial” is a pretty good description of a number of major traditional style media outfits that well predate Facebook.
David Howe writes: There nothing ambivalent about tech companies being “unwilling to sacrifice the money they make”, it’s a core function of any business to maximise profits. A moral code doesn’t apply unless it’s applied from above or by external forces. Clearly Zuckerberg has no morals and nor has his company.
James O’Neill writes: One of the reasons there have been successive acts of parliament, particularly since 2001, that progressively erode what few real liberties exist in this country is that there is no legislative protection in the form of a bill of rights or equivalent. Australians have been remarkably acquiescent in tolerating this situation. Now the media have belatedly recognised the danger. Too little, too late.
Peter Schulz writes: Another example of the “respectable” conservatives being the ones trashing rules and traditions. Imagine the furore if it were the “Marxist” Corbyn (Murdoch media’s description) using such scurrilous tactics.
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