Trump vs. Zuckerberg: Who Has Contributed More to Fake News?

Writer and Documentary Filmmaker

Perhaps we should subtitle all fake news with the facts, half-jokes French philosopher-activist Bernard-Henri Lévy. The anti-intellectualism movement has swept the United States and Europe in the last 12 months, but it has been a long time coming. Trump is not the author of it, but rather the product, notes Lévy. While intellectuals relish debate, the hashing-out and exchange of ideas is what the anti-intellectual movement fears most. “Debate now, truth tomorrow,” says Lévy. It’s funny then that social media is the hotbed of modern debate, but it’s also a cradle of life for anti-intellectualist sentiment. Nowhere are idiots more warmly incubated or does misinformation spread faster than in the online community, which is why Facebook – the third most-visited website in the world – has such a responsibility to support verified information and not publicize fake news as equal on the platform. Trump may be the heart of the anti-intellectual movement, but social media is the mechanism, says Lévy. Bernard-Henri Lévy's most recent book is The Genius of Judaism.

Bernard-Henri Lévy's most recent book is The Genius of Judaism.

  • Transcript

TRANSCRIPT

Bernard-Henri Lévy: Anti-intellectualism means two things, hate of debate and hate of truth as a goal, which can be achieved approximately in a long intellectual process. This is what is hated by anti-intellectualism. The two things together. The debate, the discussion, the opposition of points of view with the consideration of a remote truth. This is the couple. Debate now, truth tomorrow. And this couple is what the anti-intellectualism of today hates most. So you have people today who defend fanatically some fake news instead of before you had people fighting democratically for a remote truth. Again, we change completely the compass, which ends completely the pattern and we are changing of the world. And for me this anti-intellectualism is something which is coming for a long time and it really paved the road in Europe and in America for the neo-populism. And Trump is not the author of that, he's the result of that. He's the result of this long anti-intellectualism.

And in that the social networks have, as you know, a big responsibility. And when Mark Zuckerberg is addressed on that, when he's questioned on that, when he says I'm not a historian, I'm not here to make the police of the fake, it's a joke and it's not correct. And he does not take the huge responsibility, which life gave him. Without being a historian. Facebook has, Twitter has a huge responsibility in not putting the fake and the news at the same level. Today if you are 20 years old, if you take your information in this little box there is very little who can allow you to make the difference between the fake and the news, between the truth and lies. Wery little helping to make the difference. No subtitles. Fakes should be subtitled, like in bad movies you need subtitles.