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Facebook出了假新闻,但它不该成为核查者

更新时间:2016-11-30 18:33:40 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

Facebook Shouldn’t Fact-Check
Facebook出了假新闻,但它不该成为核查者

We finally got a grudging mea culpa from Mark Zuckerberg: an admission that fake news is a significant problem that his social network must help solve.

我们终于从马克·扎克伯格(Mark Zuckerberg)那里得到了一个不情不愿的道歉,他承认假新闻是自己的社交网站必须帮助解决的重大问题。

But as a journalist who has been covering the inner workings of the technology industry for more than a decade, I find the calls for Facebook to accept broad responsibility for fact-checking the news, including by hiring editors and reporters, deeply unsettling.

但作为一名报道科技行业的内部运作已有十余年的记者,我认为敦促Facebook通过雇用编辑、记者等办法对新闻进行事实核查是非常令人不安的现象。

What those demanding that Facebook accept “responsibility” for becoming the dominant news aggregator of our time seem to be overlooking is that there’s a big difference between the editorial power that individual news organizations wield and that which Facebook could. Such editorial power in Facebook’s hands would be unprecedented and dangerous.

Facebook在我们这个时代成为了占据主导地位的新闻聚合平台,那些据此要求它担负起“责任”的人似乎忽略了一件事:单个新闻机构所拥有的编辑权力和Facebook或将拥有的权力之间存在巨大差异。Facebook手中的编辑权力可能会是前所未有的,同时也是危险的。

We can all agree that Facebook should do much more to make sure that blatantly fabricated claims that Donald J. Trump won the popular vote or received the pope’s endorsement don’t spread and are, at a minimum, labeled fakes.

我们都同意,Facebook应该付出更多努力,确保唐纳德·J·特朗普(Donald J. Trump)赢得了普选或者得到了教皇背书之类胡编滥造的说法不会传播开来,至少会被贴上虚假信息的标签。

Facebook admits, and my sources confirm, that it can do a better job of this by helping users flag dubious articles and predicting fakes based on data it has for search. This doesn’t have to involve humans: Facebook could decide to label content as suspected as fake if it was flagged a certain number of times and if it displayed other questionable attributes. Such a move would not mean Facebook’s taking broad responsibility for what’s true.

Facebook承认——且经我的消息源证实——它可以做得更好,它可以帮助用户给可疑文章打上标签,根据搜索得到的数据预测哪些是虚假信息。其间无需动用人力:如果可疑内容被标记的次数多到一定程度,且展现出其他可疑的特征,Facebook便可以做出为其贴上虚假信息标签的决定。

But hiring editors to enforce accuracy — or even promising to enforce accuracy by partnering with third parties — would create the perception that Facebook is policing the “truth,” and that is worrisome. The first reason has to do with the nature of Facebook’s business. The second has to do with the news business.

但为了确保准确性而雇用编辑——甚至是承诺通过与第三方合作来确保准确性——会让人觉得Facebook在审查“事实”,这让人很担心。第一个原因与Facebook的业务本质有关。第二个原因则与新闻业务有关。

One thing is clear to anyone who has worked in a newsroom: Not all fact-checking decisions are black and white.

每一个媒体人都明白:并非所有事实核查的结论都一清二楚。

Did the pope endorse Mr. Trump? He did not.

教皇为特朗普背书了吗?他没有。

But did the F.B.I. reopen the Hillary Clinton email investigation? That’s a little tougher. Although major news outlets like CNN said that it had, the agency did not in fact reopen the inquiry, which would have been a far more significant move than what it did do (which was to take a look at newly discovered emails to see if it should reconsider its decision to close the case). Erroneous reporting by established organizations is a bigger threat than fabricated stories, and far more rampant.

但联邦调查局(FBI)重启针对希拉里·克林顿(Hillary Clinton)邮件门的调查了吗?这就有些难于判定了。尽管CNN之类的主流媒体说它重启了调查,但该机构实际上做的事(对新发现的邮件进行审查,以确定是否应该重新考虑此前做出的结案决定)远没有那么不得了。比起捏造出来的消息,出自成熟媒体机构的错误报道更具威胁性,而且传播范围要大得多。

News organizations like my own publication make these judgments a million times a day. And we sometimes get them wrong. But we are checked by the power of our competitors and, for news organizations with a subscription business, by readers who stop paying us if we fail them.

如今的新闻机构,包括我自己所在的刊物,每天要做出一百万次这样的判定。但我们会受到竞争对手的制约,如果是经营订阅业务的新闻机构,则会受到读者的制约——一旦我们辜负了读者,他们就不会再付钱给我们了。

To be sure, this business model is under great stress as people lose trust in news organizations. But I don’t believe the solution is to give up on it, particularly if the alternative is to cede the power of authentication to companies like Facebook.

诚然,随着新闻机构逐渐失去人们的信任,这种业务模式承受着巨大的压力。但我认为应对之道不应该是撒手不管,如果另一种选择是把核查真伪的权力割让给Facebook之类的大公司,就更加不应该了。

I’m not comfortable trusting the truth to one gatekeeper that has a mission and a fiduciary duty to increase advertising revenue, especially when revenue is tied more to engagement than information.

我无法安心地把真相托付给一个有着增加广告收入的任务和信托责任的守门人,尤其是考虑到和它的收入相关度更高的是用户参与而不是信息。

No matter how many editors Facebook hired, it would be unable to monitor the volume of information that flows through its site, and it would be similarly impossible for readers to verify what was checked. The minute Facebook accepts responsibility for ferreting out misinformation, users will start believing that it is fact-checking everything on the site.

Facebook不论雇用多少编辑,也无法完全监控涌入其网站的大量信息,而读者同样也无法验证哪些信息经过了核查。从Facebook把搜寻虚假信息的责任揽上身那一刻起,用户便会开始相信,它会对该网站上的所有信息进行事实核查。

And what about more private content in groups or messages? For that to be fact-checked, Facebook users would have to trade their privacy (as an analogy, imagine AT&T fact-checking phone calls). That isn’t a position I think Facebook would ever want to be in.

如果是群聊或短信里的更为私密的内容呢?要是那些内容受到核查,Facebook用户势必要牺牲自己的隐私(打个比方,想象一下AT&T要对电话通话进行事实核查吧)。我想Facebook绝不愿意处在这样的境况中。

The second reason I am fearful of Facebook as fact checker is what it will do to journalism.

我害怕看到Facebook成为核查者的第二个原因在于它会对新闻界造成的影响。

If you don’t believe that Facebook’s policies could sway the news industry, you haven’t been paying attention over the past five years. Publications have been suckered into tweaking their content and their business models to try to live off the traffic Facebook sends them. They’ve favored Facebook clicks over their core readers, and are no closer to addressing plummeting print revenues. What would happen if the distribution of their articles on Facebook was tied to submitting data about their sources or conforming to some site-endorsed standards about what constitutes a trustworthy news source?

如果不相信Facebook的政策可以影响新闻界,那你一定是没有关注过此前五年间的情况。出版机构已经掉进了圈套,它们不断调整自己的内容和业务模式,试图依靠Facebook带给它们的流量维持生计。它们更看重Facebook上的点击量,而非它们的核心读者,这对解决出版收入下降问题没有任何帮助。如果Facebook在发布它们的文章之际要求它们提供关于消息源的信息,或者遵循该网站认可的某些关于何为可靠消息源的标准,会发生什么?

My fellow reporters and editors will argue that I am letting Facebook off too easy. While my husband did work there for a brief period, my position isn’t a defense of the company, which I have covered critically for years. I simply don’t trust Facebook, or any one company, with the responsibility for determining what is true.

一些记者和编辑同行会认为我这是太过轻易地放过Facebook。虽然我丈夫的确在那里短暂地工作过一段时间,但我并不是在捍卫该公司,多年来我写了很多关于它的批评性报道。我只是不信任Facebook,或者任何一家公司,不放心由它们担负起决定什么才是真相的责任。

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