Fake news 'is killing our minds', says Tim Cook

fake news

Apple CEO Tim Cook has expressed his concern at the amount of fake news circulating on social networks and the media as a whole, suggesting the government should launch a public awareness campaign backed by tech companies.

In an interview with theDaily Telegraph Cook said the process of explaining what fake news is and how it can be identified should start in schools to ensure young people don't think it's the norm. Education should also be targeted at older age groups to ensure it ceases to exist before it reaches epidemic levels, he suggested.

"There has to be a massive campaign. We have to think through every demographic. We need the modern version of a public-service announcement campaign. It can be done quickly if there is a will," he said.

"We are going through this period of time right here where unfortunately some of the people that are winning are the people that spend their time trying to get the most clicks, not tell the most truth. It's killing people's minds in a way."

Technology companies must also play their part to stop the spread of such news stories taking hold, by innovating technologies to identify fake news stories and stop them from being circulated on social media as Facebook is doing with its news filter, Cook added.

"All of us technology companies need to create some tools that help diminish the volume of fake news," he said, but added it must be done in a way that doesn't affect freedoms of speech.

"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 inthe complain category right now and haven't figured out what to do."

Cook thinks fake news will be a short-term problem, but that doesn't mean it's not important to start educating children in schools and urging them to educate their parents too, encouraging everyone to stop spreading fake news and focus on the truth.

Clare Hopping
Freelance writer

Clare is the founder of Blue Cactus Digital, a digital marketing company that helps ethical and sustainability-focused businesses grow their customer base.

Prior to becoming a marketer, Clare was a journalist, working at a range of mobile device-focused outlets including Know Your Mobile before moving into freelance life.

As a freelance writer, she drew on her expertise in mobility to write features and guides for ITPro, as well as regularly writing news stories on a wide range of topics.