Tech Giants Fight over How Best to Hack Midterm Elections

Joe Scudder
Written by Joe Scudder

Assuming that it’s their right and responsibility to control us, tech giants Facebook and Apple are debating how to do it.

The tech giants are going to “protect” us from “fake news” so that we vote correctly in the upcoming midterms. Facebook and Apple differ on whether to use human “curators,” but they both agree it is their job and within their competence to tell us what news we should read and believe.

Not only tech giants, but California politicians are getting into the manipulation business.

Bloomberg reports, “Facebook and Apple Disagree on How to Curb Fake News for U.S. Midterms.

Apple and Facebook have figured out how to keep us glued to their devices and platforms. But they haven’t figured out how to curb the misinformation that plagued them during the 2016 election and have struggled to regain public trust. And now, in the run-up to the 2018 midterms, they certainly don’t agree on a solution.

Last week, Apple launched a human-curated political news section to help readers steer clear of falsehoods surrounding the midterms. The company’s announcement reignited a fiery debate with Facebook about whether tech giants should hire people to curate news or rely on algorithms instead.

Apple has used human editors to curate news content in “Top News” and other specialized sections since the application first launched in 2015, and said it will continue to do so for the midterm elections news section. The company uses a combination of human editors and machine learning to manage more tailored content in personalized feeds for users.

“News was kind of going a little crazy,” said Apple Inc. Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook at the recent Fortune CEO Initiative, subtly referring to Facebook’s struggle with the foreign actors such as Russia, profiteers and bots that took advantage of its News Feed algorithms for financial and political gain during the presidential election. “We felt the top stories should be selected by humans,” Cook said.

Apple’s midterm election section will feature material from the Washington Post, Politico, and Axios, in addition to coverage from other sources the company describes as “trustworthy.” But critics contend this coverage is limited, given that Apple’s curators will only promote articles from a few legacy outlets. The inclusion of the Trump administration-friendly Fox News also struck a chord.

[…]

Apple co-founder [..] Steve Jobs once called Fox News a “destructive force in our society,” according to Walter Isaacson’s biography […]. The company’s current leadership contends that all content featured in the midterm election news section, including articles from Fox News, will be vetted for high-quality reporting and sourcing.

Read the full story.

The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by EagleRising.com


About the author

Joe Scudder

Joe Scudder

Joe Scudder is the "nom de plume" (or "nom de guerre") of a fifty-ish-year-old writer and stroke survivor. He lives in St Louis with his wife and still-at-home children. He has been a freelance writer and occasional political activist since the early nineties. He describes his politics as Tolkienesque.

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