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Can Facebook Solve the Internet’s Misinformation Problem?

by Inside Out

In theory, Facebook’s announcement on Tuesday that it had discovered and shut down a wide-ranging Iranian misinformation campaign should make you feel better.

The social network was slow to recognize such campaigns as threats before the 2016 presidential election, and it surely deserves some credit for what Mark Zuckerberg, its chief executive, described as the company’s shift from “reactive to proactive detection” of coordinated propaganda operations.

But it was not just Iran, and not just Facebook.

YouTube also said that it had removed content linked to the Iranian campaign. So did Twitter. And Facebook said that it had also removed pages stemming from a Russian propaganda operation that was unrelated to the Iranian campaign.

And there’s more: Microsoft announced this week that it had discovered a Russian hacking campaign aimed at conservative think tanks in the United States. And on Wednesday there was news that hackers had this week tried to penetrate the Democratic National Committee’s voter database.

All that in three days. (And Facebook took down another influence campaign last month that was of uncertain origin, but might have been operated by Russians.)

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