YouTube has announced that it will invest substantial effort in fighting fake news. The method YouTube will use is that trusted, known, and reputable news sources will be placed up next to those retailing stories of less provenance.
The part that’s being missed here is, well, whose news is fake?
To give a concrete example, that memo from the Google engineer, James Damore. He said some stuff which is socially untrue. Our society simply does not, not in public at least, accept that there are any significant mental differences between men and women. That women are less represented in coding, in engineering in general, is the result of the system and its oppressions, not innate differences within humans. Do note that Damore didn’t say that no women could be or are good coders nor engineers, only that across the population there are more men predisposed to finding such things interesting than women.
As to the science of this, Damore is right. Damore also got fired because society views this as fake news. Which is the point we’ve got to worry about. Whose news is fake? Further, what should be the function of news in a society?
As Damore’s little adventure shows us. That there are innate differences in a sexually dimorphic species is considered to be fake news these days (Remember, these differences are on average and across populations, this tells us nothing about any individual). Damore’s not the only one to have noted it either. It’s well known that men, on average and in general, take more risks than women. A general prescription therefore is that banking — one British politician insisted that Lehman Sisters would not have crashed and burned — should welcome more women so as to reduce the risks being taken within the system. Well, yes, except it should also be generally known that mixed sex populations take more risks than single sex ones of either variety. That last bit is true, even if not generally socially acceptable to point out.
So what is fake news, and what is truth? Damore said something factually and scientifically true. The vast majority of the media decided it was false and labeled it so, and Damore got fired.