Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg is working on stopping fake news from spreading on the popular social media website. Outlined in a Facebook post, Zuckerberg reveals plans on releasing new systems to stop misinformation including: third-party verification services, automated detection tools and easier ways for Facebook users to report fake news stories.
“The problems here are complex, both technically and philosophically,” Mr. Zuckerberg wrote. “We believe in giving people a voice, which means erring on the side of letting people share what they want whenever possible.”
Following Donald Trump’s Presidential victory, many people accused Facebook for swaying the election by allowing for fake news stories to go viral on the platform. Zuckerberg called the belief “a pretty crazy idea.” Facebook’s CEO later explained that less than one percent of the news posted on the website was fake.
Even President Obama called out Facebook for the spread of fake news stories on their website. During a news conference in Berlin on Thursday, Obama called out the problem with misinformation spreading on Facebook and in the media.
“Because in an age where there’s so much active misinformation and its packaged very well and it looks the same when you see it on a Facebook page or you turn on your television,” Obama said. “If everything seems to be the same and no distinctions are made, then we won’t know what to protect.”
During the last three months of the election, Buzzfeed reports that fake news stories led to nearly 9 million shares, reactions and comments on Facebook. In addition, a large majority of those fake news stories were in support of Donald Trump and attacked Hillary Clinton. In fact, the most shared fake news story circulated on Facebook was a false story titled “Pope Francis shocks world, endorses Donald Trump for President”. That single story had 960,000 shares.
According to Paul Horner, the owner of the fake news site reported earning an estimated $10,000 a month in advertising revenue from Facebook and Google. In an interview with the Washington Post, Horner explained, “I think Donald Trump is in the White House because of me.”
Horner went on to explain, “My sites were picked up by Trump supporters all the time. I think Trump is in the White House because of me. His followers don’t fact-check anything — they’ll post everything, believe anything. His campaign manager posted my story about a protester getting paid $3,500 as fact. Like, I made that up. I posted a fake ad on Craigslist.”