Apple hires New York Magazine executive editor to aid war on fake news

Apple iPhone 3D touch
Jeffrey Van Camp/Digital Trends

The fight against fake news is causing social networking sites and news aggregators to take a look in the mirror and develop practices to keep their users better informed. That means properly vetting stories and conducting rigorous fact-checking. Tech firms that used to simply link users to content are now tasked with curating it as well. According to Politico, Apple is ramping up its efforts in the crusade by hiring a big name.

The iPhone maker has added Lauren Kern, formerly of New York Magazine, to its team. Kern will serve as Apple’s first Editor-in-Chief, in a move that demonstrates an interest in bolstering the Californian company’s news service. Although Apple doesn’t produce original journalistic content, it does hand-pick stories to promote, so it can be assumed Kern will factor heavily in that decision making.

Kern previously served as executive editor at New York Media, and before that deputy editor at the New York Times Magazine.

Today’s news follows previous statements by Apple CEO Tim Cook, as well as the company’s senior vice president of software and services, Eddy Cue, relating to stemming the spread of clickbait. Back in February, Cook called it “one of today’s chief problems,” noting the dilemma of “filtering out” malicious content while preserving the “great openness of the internet.”

A week later, at this year’s Code Media conference, Cue called upon other tech companies to stand up, saying “we all have a responsibility” to eliminate fake news.

“We’re very concerned about all of the news items and the clickbait from that standpoint, and that driving a lot of the news coverage,” Cue said. “We’re trying to do some things in Apple News, we’re learning from that and we need to share that together as an industry and improve it.”

Apple’s not the only one. Earlier this year, Facebook began flagging illegitimate stories, with the help of fact checking organizations like First Draft. It followed that up in April by releasing resources and links in its Help Center designed to educate users on how to spot fake news.