Iran is up in arms over what they’re calling “fake news” stories being disseminated on Facebook, with one of their biggest targets being Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg.
“Our big complaint is the Fake News,” according to reports. “The use of Facebook to spread disinformation and lies in the form of fake news.” The Government wants Facebook to have more responsibility for what it publishes, which is to say fake news.
Facebook had taken down 11 of the posters in Iran, prompting officials to threaten to implement “judicial measures.” Government officials were even quoted as saying that “the issue was not about freedom of expression, but the right to know the facts.” The country had taken on major global corporations, such as Google and Microsoft, over their treatment of their users. Facebook was next on the list.
Facebook’s position is that it receives millions of contributions from users every day, and that it doesn’t always have control over the content it brings in. However, at the same time it makes it very clear on its page about what is deemed as “unsafe” and where it permits users to go.
One such controversial post, entitled “Check out these 3 remarkable facts about American imperialism” is clearly marked as a posted by a “government-funded media organization.” It has been favored among Iran’s Facebook users, and just last week, a whopping 2.5 million users voted for it to become their “favorite.”
The latest article, entitled “Breaches of public trust would likely lead to arrests” is also clearly described on the page as “anti-government”.
The “state media organizations” which Facebook have removed apparently do not have the ability to actually write the articles they post on their pages.
We reached out to Facebook regarding this issue. “Our content reviewers across the world can’t know everything — that’s just impossible in real time. Sometimes we get it wrong,” the company replied.
“We don’t get a lot of anonymous messages. Unlike most countries, where you can make anonymous posts because of terrorism concerns, we have no such capability in the United States,” Facebook continued.
It seems that the real problem here is in Iran’s inconsistency. The country praises Iran, but makes extraordinary claims that CNN couldn’t even verify.
It’s a perplexing contradiction, really. But it doesn’t help that while you’re telling the world about fake news, you are also lying through your teeth about having more trust in Facebook than any other government on the planet.