In an interview with Bloomberg, Microsoft President Brad Smith said the company won’t label social media posts that appear to be false in order to avoid the appearance that the company is trying to censor speech online. From the report: “I don’t think that people want governments to tell them what’s true or false,” Smith said when asked about Microsoft’s role in defining disinformation. “And I don’t think they’re really interested in having tech companies tell them either.” The comments are Smith’s strongest indication yet that Microsoft is taking a unique path to tracking and disrupting digital propaganda efforts.
Smith said Microsoft wanted to provide the public with more information about who is speaking, what they are saying and allow them to come to their own judgment about whether content was true. “We have to be very thoughtful and careful because — and this is also true of every democratic government — fundamentally, people quite rightly want to make up their own mind and they should,” he said. “Our whole approach needs to be to provide people with more information, not less and we cannot trip over and use what others might consider censorship as a tactic.”