The President of the United States has expressed his concerns for the democratic debate, given the importance of lying articles on social networks.
For the first time since the election of Donald Trump at the White House, the current president of the United States has reacted to the polemic concerning the false information circulating on Facebook, pointed the finger as being in part responsible for the victory of the candidate republican.
On Thursday 17 November in Berlin, at a joint press conference with Angela Merkel, Barack Obama highlighted the dangers of “a time when there is so much active disinformation, very well presented, Informs on Facebook or on television. If everything looks the same and no distinction is made, then we can not know what to protect. ”
Mark Zuckerberg, the co-founder and president of Facebook, defended himself after the election of any influence of the social network on the outcome of the vote. “Personally, I think that the idea that false information on Facebook, which represents only a very small part of the content, have influenced the presidential is a pretty crazy idea,” he wrote on November 10. This Thursday, Obama was much more pessimistic:
“If we are not serious about the facts, about what is true and what is not, and especially at the time of social networks, when so many people receive the information in one sentence on Their phone, if we can not tell the difference between serious arguments and propaganda, then we have a problem. “
According to the calculations of the Buzzfeed site, articles relaying false information (such as the false support of Pope Francis to Donald Trump, or the imaginary revelation of arms sales by Hillary Clinton to the Islamic state organization) elicited 8.7 million Of interactions on Facebook, compared with 7.3 million for articles from the traditional press. “Honestly, people have become much more stupid. They just keep on sharing what’s going on. Nobody ever checks anything, “an important author of parodic articles, Paul Horner, told the Washington Post, whose stories were even taken up by Donald Trump’s campaign teams.
“Trump understands the new ecosystem”
In a long interview published Nov. 17 by the New Yorker, Barack Obama links the victory of the Republican candidate to this context. “Trump understands the new ecosystem, in which facts and truth do not matter. You attract attention, you arouse emotion, and then you move on to something else. You can surf on these emotions, “analyzes the 44th president of the United States.
The Democrat, who acknowledged his surprise at the outcome of the election, did not wish to sink into total pessimism ( “I do not believe in the apocalypse – until the apocalypse I believe that nothing is the end of the world until the end of the world “). He believes, however, that the democratic debate is the big loser of the place taken by disinformation on social networks, an example of climate warming in support.
“Ideally, in a democracy, everyone should agree that climate change is the result of human activity, because that’s what 99% of scientists tell us. Then we should debate a way to solve this problem. […] Before you were debating the means, but there was a common set of facts on which we could all rely. We do not even have that anymore. “
For Barack Obama, “the new media ecosystem wants everything to be true and nothing is true. An explanation of climate change by a Nobel of physics is presented in exactly the same way on your Facebook page as a denial of climate change by an unknown paid by the brothers Koch, “American businessmen whose family made a fortune in Petrochemicals, and important financial supporters of the Republican and Libertarian parties.