May 17, 2024

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Former President Barack Obama says tech companies must help contain misinformation

3 min read

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April 22 (UPI) — Previous President Barack Obama is sounding an alarm more than issue about misinformation staying distribute on the net and mentioned U.S. tech organizations have a obligation to rein it in.

Speaking at Stanford College on Thursday, the 44th president warned of the hazards of electronic disinformation and termed on engineering companies to do more to shield the community at huge from extensive waves of phony and perhaps unsafe information and facts.

Obama urged digital gatekeepers to give extra transparency in how they encourage material and lobbied for stricter regulation.

“Social media did not create racism or white supremacist teams it didn’t produce the sort of ethnonationalism that Putin is enraptured with,” Obama reported, according to CNN.

“All these factors existed prolonged just before the initially tweet or Fb poke.”

The distribute of untrue information and facts throughout the Net is absolutely nothing new, but Obama and other people have pointed to some of the far more severe repercussions in the latest a long time — these kinds of as the COVID-19 pandemic and vaccines and the QAnon conspiracy movement.

In his remarks, Obama said unrestrained misinformation on line is a threat to democracy in the United States and abroad.

“Every single of us — no matter whether we perform at a tech business or take in social media whether or not we’re a dad or mum, a legislator, or an advertiser on one particular of these platforms — has to pick a side,” he wrote in a Fb submit.

“Do we permit our democracy to wither? Or do we opt for to make it improved? That’s the choice we encounter, and it is a decision worthy of embracing.”

Considering that leaving place of work in 2017, Obama has created preventing disinformation a partial emphasis of his article-White Household several years. It can be a subject matter that he also dealt with all through an occasion at a conference organized by the College of Chicago and The Atlantic before this thirty day period.

“These corporations need to have to have some other North star other than just making funds and increasing current market share,” he reported on Thursday. “Take care of the difficulty that in part they assisted build, but also to stand for something even larger.”

Obama emphasized the significance of transparency amid electronic firms like Amazon, Apple, Google and Meta.

“These providers are nonetheless way also guarded about how exactly their benchmarks operate, or how their engagement position methods impact what goes viral and what isn’t going to,” he explained.

“Fixing the disinformation challenge would not overcome all that ails our democracies or tears at the cloth of our globe. But it can assist rebuild the believe in and solidarity required to make democracy much better,” he extra in his Facebook submit.

“I believe that we ought to use every tool at our disposal to safe our biggest gift — a government of, by, and for the folks — for generations to appear.”

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