President Obama — speaking in Berlin, Germany Thursday — cautioned the world about the threat fake news poses to democracy.
“We are not serious about facts and what’s true and what’s not, and particularly in an age of social media where so many people are getting their information in sound bites and snippets off their phones.”
“If we can’t discriminate between serious arguments and propaganda, then we have problems,” Obama explained at his joint press conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
“If people, whether they’re conservative, liberal, left or right, are unwilling to compromise and engage in the democratic process and are taking absolutist views and demonizing opponents, then democracy will break down.”
Obama’s comments come in the wake of escalating calls for social media giant Facebook to crack down on supposed fake news outlets and stories. (RELATED: Assistant Professer’s ‘Fake News’ List Includes Breitbart, Not HuffPo)
“Facebook’s censorship consideration began primarily after Donald Trump won the presidential election over the favored Hillary Clinton, with critics complaining that fake news shared on the social media site influenced the election results,” writes the Daily Caller News Foundation’s Ethan Barton. “The impetus for censorship could especially put pressure on conservative-leaning news and opinion sites.”
Barton further notes that “Facebook previously faced criticism that its trending topics were biased against conservative news.”