Clinton: Fake news 'epidemic' is 'putting lives at risk'
Former Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, making a rare public appearance since her election loss, decried fake news and called on lawmakers and private companies to find a way to stop its spread on Thursday.
“This isn’t about politics or partisanship,” she said at a Thursday event honoring outgoing Senate minority leader Harry Reid. “Lives are at risk. Lives of ordinary people just trying to go about their days, to do their jobs, contribute to their communities.”
A North Carolina man faces charges after he fired at least one shot at a D.C. pizzeria at the center of one such online conspiracy. The conspiracy alleges that Clinton and her campaign manager have run a child-sex ring out of the restaurant. The gunman said he went to the pizzeria to “investigate.” In an interview with the New York Times, he said “the intel on this wasn’t 100 percent.”
No one was injured in the incident.
A Florida woman was indicted this week for making death threats against the parent of a victim of the 2012 Sandy Hook shooting in Newtown, Connecticut. The woman believes the shooting that killed 20 first-graders and six educators was a hoax, according to police.
“It is now clear that so-called fake news can have real world consequences,” Clinton said.
Facebook is taking steps to fight the fake news that spread on its site. Sheryl Sandberg, the company’s chief operating officer, said Facebook does not “think (fake news) swayed the election” during an interview on NBC’s Today.
Clinton did not reference the election results in her remarks. Instead, she called on lawmakers and private companies like Facebook to do something about fake news.
“Bipartisan legislation is making its way through Congress to boost the government’s response to foreign propaganda, and Silicon Valley is starting to grapple with the challenge and threat of fake news,” Clinton said. “It’s imperative that leaders in both the private sector and the public sector step up to protect our democracy and innocent lives.”