Fake NewsDonald Trump defeated Hillary Clinton to win the USA presidential election, he will be sworn in some time in January. This was a shock for me and the 4 Americans whom I know. Since then, there’s been a rush to explain the win, the forgotten white people, racism, sexism and fake news among others. The fake news thing was propelled by this Buzzfeed post. Later on I read this post giving interesting suggestions on how the platforms can help with combating fake news. This is the comment I left on the post.

The thing that always gets me about this fake news brouhaha is the tacit assumption that Americans (and most human beings) are idiots and wouldn’t be able to recognize fake news from real. It’s pretty sanctimonious of anyone to think that.

Another assumption is that fake news changed people’s minds when it came to the election. I’m yet to be come across any evidence of this anywhere. What we do know is that it was shared a lot. I suspect this, putting it on Facebook and fake news, is just people looking to blame something other than poor tactics, racism and sexism for Trump.

A lot of the suggestions won’t work because being online means now, more than ever before, it’s easier to build and find communities of like minded people. You can’t force anyone to consume what you think is correct content.

Facebook is fighting for attention just like the every other online platform, if I’m forced to see things I don’t care for on Facebook, there’s Snapchat, Instagram, YouTube and Twitter all fighting for my attention.

I get that y’all (America) are Facebook’s biggest market, but the rest of us use it too and I worry about these “solutions” being forced on the rest of us because you (Americans) can’t get over the fact that your country is a sexist, racist mess.

Don’t even get me started on bias in the media.

I’ll end this post with this: To the rest of the world the biggest effect of fake news is your war in the middle east; billions upon billions of dollars spent, millions of people displaced, many thousands of lives lost all and several new terror organisations because the New York Times told the public that there were weapons of mass destruction in the hands of terrorists. But please tell me more about how I should only get my news from trusted sources. 

I’ll reiterate my main reason for pointing this out again. I am extremely wary that the solutions that might be adopted will affect the other billion and a half people that are not American on Facebook. What works for them doesn’t necessarily work for the rest of us. Peace!

Written by Sidney Ochieng

Child at heart and mind. Feminist. Story teller. Fledgling data scientist. Your future boss

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