An epidemic of fake news is "killing people's minds" says Apple CEO Tim Cook.Firms like Apple need to help solve the problem through technology that preserves freedom of speech while cutting down the spread of fake news.
"All of us technology companies need to create some tools that help diminish the volume of fake news," Cook said. "We must try to squeeze this without stepping on freedom of speech and of the press, but we must also help the reader.Too many of us are just in the 'complaint' category right now and haven't figured out what to do."
Cook says governments must also play a role in solving the fake news problem.He notes that while fake news has always been present online, it has become an increasingly important issue during recent political campaigns.Supporters of every candidate have accused the other side of spreading false stories for political benefit.
The Apple exec noted that in the current political climate, it's possible to succeed by getting the most clicks - not necessarily by providing the most truthful information to voters and the media.
His opinion is borne out by research.A Stanford University study published after November's Presidential election concluded that while false anti-Clinton stories had been shared more than 30 million times on Facebook, stories favoring her candidacy were shared just 8 million times.
"The average American saw and remembered 0.92 pro-Trump fake news stories and 0.23 pro-Clinton fake news stories," the study's authors wrote, "with just over half of those who recalled seeing fake news stories believing them."
Cook says that joint efforts to curtail the fake news epidemic will lead to a future in which "truthful, reliable, non-sensational, deep news outlets will win."
Photo: IFLA (International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions