Should social media label statements as false, misleading or contested?
Let’s approach it from the perspective of what would make the world best, rather than e.g. what rights do the social media companies have, as owners of the social media companies.
The basic upside seems to be that pragmatically, people share all kinds of false things on social media, and that leads to badness, and this slows that down.
The basic problem with it is that maybe we can’t distinguish worlds where social media companies label false things as false, and those where they label things they don’t like as false, or things that aren’t endorsed by other ‘official’ entities. So maybe we don’t want such companies to have the job of deciding what is considered true or false, because a) we don’t trust them enough to give them this sacred and highly pressured job forever, or b) we don’t expect everyone to trust them forever, and it would be nice to have better recourse when disagreement appears than ‘but I believe them’.
If there were a way to systematically inhibit or label false content based on its falseness directly, rather than via a person’s judgment, that would be an interesting solution that perhaps everyone reasonable would agree to add. If prediction markets were way more ubiquitous, each contentious propositional Tweet could say under it the market odds for the claim.
Or what if Twitter itself were a prediction market, trading in Twitter visibility? For just-posted Tweets, instead of liking them, you can bet your own cred on them. Then a while later, they are shown again and people can vote on whether they turned out right and you win or lose cred. Then your total cred determines how much visibility your own Tweets get.
It seems like this would solve:
- the problem for prediction markets where it is illegal to bet money and hard to be excited about fake money
- the problem for prediction markets where it’s annoying to go somewhere to predict things when you are doing something else, like looking at Twitter
- the problem for Twitter where it is full of fake claims
- the problem for Twitter users where they have to listen to fake claims all the time, and worry about whether all kinds of things are true or not
It would be pretty imperfect, since it throws the gavel to future Twitter users, but perhaps they are an improvement on the status quo, or on the status quo without the social media platforms themselves making judgments.