Fake news: No perfect solution, says Twitter CEO

Our Bureau November 12, 2018 - Updated 10:19 pm IST

It is important to understand the context of misinformation and the intent behind it, says Jack Dorsey

Twitter CEO and co-founder Jack Dorsey during an interaction session with IIT Delhi students, in New Delhi, Monday, Nov 12, 2018.

“There is no perfect solution when it comes to suppressing misleading tweets,” said Twitter CEO and co-founder Jack Dorsey, who is on a maiden visit to India.

Addressing a town hall event at the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi, on Monday, Dorsey said: “In a number of conversations, it has become more important that we scope the problem as tightly as possible because fake news, or misinformation, as a category, is way too big.”

“The problem with fake news and misinformation is that it leads people to take action,” he said. “Our job is not identifying misinformation, but misleading information since the former also comes in the form of jokes. Our job is to make sure it does not spread the content,” added Dorsey.

Fake news is a huge problem in India, more so at the time of elections, as politicians and citizens alike use the platform extensively.

The onus then falls on social-media platforms to stop fake news from spreading. Dorsey explained that to act upon fake news, it is also important to understand the context of the misinformation and the intent behind it.

‘Multi-variable problem’

There can, he conceded, be no perfect solution. “It is a multi-variable problem, and there is no such thing as a perfect solution... It is something like security. No one can have a perfect lock that others can’t break. All we can do is try to stay 10 steps ahead,” he added.

Dorsey, who came to India last week, also met with Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Monday, and at that meeting too, the issue of fake news came up for discussion. After the meeting, the Congress President tweeted: “Jack explained some of the steps being taken to keep those conversations healthy and to tackle the menace of fake news.”

Twitter also launched ‘#PowerOf18’ to encourage youngsters to start a public debate on issues they deem important. The social-media platform has conducted research covering 3,600 people in the 18-30 age group on what people would consider the power of turning 18. It turned out that voting emerged as a top response.

The survey also revealed that while 87 per cent of the respondents believed voting made them responsible, 53 per cent said they vote because they want to make a difference.

“No one can have a lock that others can’t break. All we can do is try to stay 10 steps ahead.”



Published on November 12, 2018 11:18