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Apple CEO Tim Cook tackles truth in the digital age

Apple CEO Tim Cook visited the University of Glasgow on Wednesday to be awarded an honorary doctorate and for a chat with students. During a question-and-answer session, one audience member asked Cook to tell them what the future looks like.

He responded by talking about the way that information is published and disseminated in the digital age and how consumers need to be more wary of what they read and hear.

"The world is going through an enormous change. We used to watch three or four people tell us the news, and generally speaking most of us trusted that … now you are growing up in an environment where everyone is telling you the news and everyone is trying to influence your opinion on something," Cook said.

Tim Cook
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Tim Cook

"Generally society hasn't moved as fast as technology has … so all of us have been put in a position to make sure that when we hear something we automatically take it as our opinion that we think through the different views on it and unfortunately make sure it is accurate as well."

Cook did not use the phrase "fake news" at all, but his comments come at a time when the term has entered the mainstream. Generally, it refers to hoax or fabricated stories, made easier by the fact that publishing online has become easy.

One of the most prominent examples last year was the "Pizzagate" conspiracy theory that spread across online forums 4chan and Reddit. Companies like Facebook and Google have come under fire and have been accused of doing little to fight the spread of untrue stories. Both companies have taken steps to address the issues.

In France, Facebook and Google have teamed up with news organizations to launch initiatives to fight fake news, ahead of elections across Europe.