November 16, 2016

How many billions would Facebook lose, were there no false or outrageously misleading news that attracts ad-clicks?

Sir, I refer to your “Face up to responsibility, Facebook and friends” November 16.

Indeed, Facebook, Google and friends, must now come to terms with how to manage fake news that are there only to attract ad-clicks. Clearly since they are also in the business of ad-clicks, and probably benefit on those clicks attracted by false news, they face serious, I would hold unmanageable, conflicts of interests.

To put the burden of this responsibility on Facebook and similar, would be something akin as having the banks calculating their own risk weighted capital requirements, like naïve bank regulators allow them to do.

I believe the most expedient way to resolve this issue, in a way that benefits most of us, is not to try to establish the veracity of any individual news, but to go after those sites that make it their business to attract ad-clicks by means of false or outrageously misleading news. 3 lunacies that have attracted more than 100 clicks, should suffice for a one month suspension.

Recognizing my human weaknesses I recently twitted: “Help, I can’t resist. More than an ad-blocker, I need a blocker of stupid/outrageous only designed to be clicked on stories”

PS. As a gentle reminder, in reference to the thousands of letter I have written to you on the distortions that risk-weighted capital requirements for banks cause, to withhold important information that could be true is, for a news organization like Financial Times, basically the same as presenting fake information.