Mark Zuckerberg says Facebook wants to fight fake news


Facebook has come under a lot of scrutiny lately, mainly coming under the allegations that it is doing too little to prevent misinformation spread on the platform. What Zuckerberg previously called “pretty crazy”, namely the idea that Facebook could have influenced the presidential election in the US, now seems to be a serious issue, as outlined by this post. So what’s the strategy?

First of all, let’s make one thing clear. The post doesn’t actually say that Facebook is doing something as a reaction to the public criticism. Zuckerberg specifically says that he is outlining projects that are “already underway”. So even though recent studies indicate that a majority of US adults get their news on social media and that pretty much mainly means Facebook, the company is still trying to convince us it’s just a platform. But algorithms have a lot of influence and the fact that they are algorithms doesn’t make it any less important.

Zuckerberg says that the most important thing is “classifying information” and flagging it as false before users have to do it. Automatically flagging articles as false might read to some pretty big issues. But further in his post, Facebook’s founder talks about third party verification. Those two things in combination with each other (a team of actual people and an algorithm) might have more success than just one of them.

One of the last points in the post is also one of the most sensible – “disrupting fake news economics”. Sites are spreading fake news because they get clicks and clicks mean ad dollars. If Facebook can somehow reduce work against that, it might be the best thing to ever happen in social media.

As Zuckerberg himself points out, some of the ideas will work and others won’t. Trying is better than nothing, but it might not be enough. Maybe it’s time to look at the usage and treat Facebook as what it is – an actual media company with a lot of influence.

Pic: ©kaboompics
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