Pierluigi Paganini, Chief Technology Officer at Cybaze, has commented on measures proposed by Facebook CEO and reflected on the role played by social media in spreading information.
Sputnik: Mark Zuckerberg says he might add labels to posts that incite violence following pressure from staff and civil rights leaders - less than a week after he criticized Twitter for doing the same thing. In your view, what is the reason behind Zuckerberg’s change of heart?
Pierluigi Paganini: Zuckerberg is, first of all, a businessman and has to protect his companies, he has chosen the best option for his stakeholders and employees, which were angered by that decision and staged a virtual walkout on Monday. Immediately after he announced that he will not add any fact checks or warning his company was hit with backlash, especially due to the opposite position of Twitter. Today information is power and he doesn't want that any decision, in this specific historical moment, could impact the way his services are perceived by Internet users.
Sputnik: Last week, the Facebook CEO said the company doesn't add fact checks or warning labels to posts because they “shouldn't be the arbiter of truth”. If, however, social networks begin to add fact-checking labels to posts, how will this generally change the community of, say, Facebook and other social networks, which were always a platform of opinions and not a platform of facts?
Pierluigi Paganini: The principal problem is that Facebook and other social networks could not be “platform of facts,” this means that their users could continue to spread the news and express their opinions on any subjects.
Social networks “shouldn't be the arbiter of truth,” but they must monitor and block any attempt of using their services to carry out misinformation and disinformation. Social media platforms have to monitor any abuse, but they cannot simply add labels to the comment of a public or political figure, otherwise, these platforms could represent an even greater danger than today. We must prevent that social media could be used to influence the sentiment of the population on specific topics.
Sputnik: Could using these shortcuts become a political tool for Facebook?
Pierluigi Paganini: Facebook and other social networks are already potential political tools, they could reach an instantaneously wide audience and any new feature could be abused for this purpose. Labels added to posts could have the same effect as the posts themselves, and for this reason, their use must be explicitly and clearly regulated.
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