Univeral Amplifier

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Pierre Omidyar and the Battle of the Fake News Bulge

What makes a Philanthropist? Is it their generous nature to the greater good or maybe a unique drive to help others? When you think of a philanthropist you may think of the stereotype as someone that has the money to give away. Pierre Omidyar, founder of eBay, just happens to be worth more than $8 billion and a lot can be done with $8 billion.

Fighting fake news through philanthropy

About a month ago the Fake News “Epidemic” started to lose it’s spot in the lime light as people moved on to the newest thing. Even Rachel Maddow stopped talking about it, and she loves the topic of fake news. More recently, Omidyar’s philanthropy fund pledged a record breaking amount of $100 million to help fight the spread of fake news and hate speech. The money will be allocated to many different organizations starting with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) who, over the next three years, will receive $4.5 million per year. That can fund a lot of investigative journalists!

I know the problem of fake news is both a problem and an opportunity for Universal Information Services. Whenever the idea of fighting fake news, and hate speech especially, comes up, things like the government’s role, first amendment rights (specifically freedom of speech and the press), and other censorship related topics get thrown around. Since the emergence of fake news people have been wondering how to stop it and with $100 million behind you I predict something will for sure change. The argument is simply is this good or bad?

There are two schools of thought.

  1. Fake information can lead to a variety of problems and hate speech is even more damaging, so ending this problem is the right thing to do.

  2. Where does the censorship stop? If we give these organizations like ICIJ the ability to censor certain information, that power could be used to advance an agenda or personal gains.

From my view on the edge of media monitoring and measurement, this could be bad for organizations monitoring their Share of Voice. If there is one thing we’ve learned it is that absolute power corrupts. Maybe it’s the temptation for personal gain, or a hardwired human instinct to help ourselves, without safeguards censorship could rise. These safeguards help the organizations Universal Information Services services through monitoring and measuring their exposure.

Freedom of speech and freedom of the press are both sides of an essential coin. Without either side that coin may be worthless. At least this is how I see it.

This has been another post by Teddy Murphy. I’m keeping my eye on what’s next. Teddy Murphy-Blogger


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