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Facebook Security Chief Warns of Dangers in Fake-News Solutions

800x-1Alex Stamos, who’s handling the company’s investigation into Russia’s use of the social media platform ahead of the 2016 U.S. presidential election, cautioned about hoping for technical solutions that he says could have unintended consequences of ideological bias.

It’s very difficult to spot fake news and propaganda using just computer programs, Stamos said in a series of Twitter posts on Saturday.

“Nobody of substance at the big companies thinks of algorithms as neutral,” Stamos wrote, adding that the media is simplifying the matter. “Nobody is not aware of the risks.”

The easy technical solutions would boil down to silencing topics that Facebook is aware are being spread by bots -- which should only be done “if you don’t worry about becoming the Ministry of Truth” with machine learning systems “trained on your personal biases,” he said.

Stamos’s comments shed light on why Facebook added 1,000 more people review its advertising, rather than attempting an automated solution.

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