Tim Cook: Fake news is 'killing people's minds'

Commentary: Speaking in the UK, Apple's CEO says we need a massive public awareness campaign to fight bogus news.

Technically Incorrect offers a slightly twisted take on the tech that's taken over our lives.


Apple CEO Tim Cook

Praying for the truth to come through isn't enough, Cook believes.

Stephen Lam/Getty Images

Fake news has rather dominated the conversation of late. It's made it very hard to stay in touch with reality.

Why, even the president and his staff insist that CNN, bastion of the middle ground, merely peddles fake news.

Information that's false, but made to look real online, seems to proliferate daily -- and I'm not suggesting CNN is part of that.

Some say fake news affected the election and that Facebook was partially responsible.

Apple CEO Tim Cook believes the fakery is "killing people's minds in a way." That's what he told The Telegraph on Friday during a visit to London.

Cook insisted that the problem is serious across much of the world and everyone needs to be made more aware.

"It has to be ingrained in the schools, it has to be ingrained in the public," he said. He called for a "massive campaign," one that speaks to every demographic. But what form might this campaign take?

Cook explained: "We need the modern version of a public service announcement campaign. It can be done quickly if there is a will."

Whose will, though, would it require? Technology companies might be involved. Cook believes tech firms need to invent tools that weed out fake news.

He likened the need to combat fake news to the way world awareness of global warming was raised. He said it was kids who were first prepared to learn and absorb information about the environment; then those children persuaded their parents to do something about it.

"In some ways kids will be the easiest to educate," he said. "At least before a certain age, they are very much in listen and understand [mode]."

Somehow, though, I'm not sure public service announcements would work so easily. People have become more keen to believe what they want to believe and more suspicious of anything that runs counter to their beliefs.

They will surely look at any PSA through that subjective prism.

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