Apple CEO Tim Cook sat down with the Telegraph and discussed what the world needs to do to combat “fake news” which came to a head this past election cycle. Immediately following Trump’s win, fake news was blamed. What “fake news” IS hasn’t been clearly defined, but Cook is willing to help.
“We are going through this period of time right here where unfortunately some of the people that are winning are the people that spend their time trying to get the most clicks, not tell the most truth… It’s killing people’s minds, in a way.”
For whatever reason, Cook insisted on censoring fake news, while still somehow not infringing on people’s freedom of speech. He also stated that the technology sector can work hand in hand with various governments in order to combat misinformation. Governments all keep secrets, and it would be hard for a government to be completely objective in keeping the public safe from fake news, versus just keeping certain information out of their reach.
“All of us technology companies need to create some tools that help diminish the volume of fake news. We must try to squeeze this without stepping on freedom of speech and of the press, but we must also help the reader. Too many of us are just in the ‘complain’ category right now and haven’t figured out what to do.”
The fight may be noble, to keep untruths out of the public’s eye, but the idea that this can be done objectively while working with governments is very naive. Would anyone put it past the U.S. government to label Wikileaks “fake news”, so that their publications never see the light of day?
A better approach, put forth by the Christian Science Monitor is one of education. Teaching people how to discern real news from fake news, and how to differentiate between facts and opinion. Charlie Wood writes,
“If technology and government oversight represent two fronts in the war on fake news, education is rapidly opening up a third front. A push to teach people to separate fake from real, as well as opinion from fact, might sidestep thorny issues of censorship and institutional distrust. “
Cook did, however, express his optimism with both Donald Trump and Brexit. While he understands some of what Trump is trying to do with regard to immigration policy, he chooses to show how diversity has helped Apple, hoping that their example will provide a look at the positive effects of welcoming people from various races and cultures into America.