"Fake news" is fine with Facebook in Latvia

Take note – story published 5 years ago

Despite well-publicized public vows to crack down on the use of its social network for the dissemination of outright lies - so-called "fake news" - Facebook is in reality blase about the phenomenon in Latvia, reports the Baltic Center for Investigative Journalism, Re:Baltica.

In a regular update on its activities, Re:Baltica suggests Facebook's rhetoric fails to match its actions when it comes to cleaning up misleading content put online by subscribers.

"Last week representatives of both Facebook and Google met with journalists in Riga on the same day," says Re:Baltica.

"The Facebook representatives started their presentation by distributing a several pages long (translated into Latvian) “announcement from Mark” (Zuckerberg) while [they] failed to provide answers to the relevant questions... It turned out that Facebook closes down fake profiles, but does not erase fake news, because everyone has the right to say whatever they please. When a colleague asked  whether Facebook would remove fake news that Tina Turner had died, the Facebook representative answered “no”, unless Tina Turner herself reported the fake news," Re:Baltica reports.

Subsequent questions revealed there are only two Facebook press officers covering 20 different countries  "so e-mails can easily go unanswered" and there is no organisation that looks for fake news in the Latvian language on Facebook, while there is a person or persons (the number was never mentioned) who monitor hate speech in Latvian.

Facebook was unable to say to what extent they provide information to Latvia’s anti-corruption agency KNAB about political party spending on social media. According to information published by KNAB, political parties have hitherto declared that they would spend around EUR 138 500 on FB and Instagram.

Re:Baltic reported similarly impotent and evasive efforts from internet giant Google.

"Latvia is too small for Facebook and Google to take it seriously. Especially requests and information from journalists. They react if there is pressure from public officials," concludes Re:Baltica.

For the avoidance of any confusion we will conclude by stating that happily, Tina Turner is alive and kicking and still Simply The Best.

Seen a mistake?

Select text and press Ctrl+Enter to send a suggested correction to the editor

Select text and press Report a mistake to send a suggested correction to the editor

Related articles


Most important