Since Trump’s presidential victory on Tuesday, Facebook has been alleged of influencing the election result by surfacing fake news on the social network. Founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg is utterly disappointed with its users and has already called the idea of ‘pro-Tump fake content’ leading to this outcome as ‘pretty crazy.’ But, Zuckerberg isn’t done defending the integrity of the news feed and has addressed the critics in a lengthy post published on Facebook.
In the post, Zuckerberg claims that it is “extremely unlikely” that fake news swayed the election result towards either side. He further adds that more than 99 percent of what you might read on your news feed is completely authentic and only a minimal amount is possibly a hoax or fake.
And even if some fake news exists, it is neither restricted to one partisan view nor is it always political. With regard to the same, the CEO says,
Of all the content on Facebook, more than 99% of what people see is authentic. Only a very small amount is fake news and hoaxes. Overall, this makes it extremely unlikely hoaxes changed the outcome of this election in one direction or the other.
The teams at Facebook are committed to getting rid of hoaxes and show people the most relevant news content on the platform. But, Zuck notes that they need to tread carefully as filtering fake content on the platform isn’t as easy as one might imagine. The biggest challenge of all being the task of determining if the news content is actually a hoax or not.
He further mentions that some fake news is easy to debunk while other content from mainstream news outlets might get the basics right and then twist(or omit) the major details to present a half baked view of the situation. To weed out some basic fake news, the company has already provided users with the power to report inappropriate or fake content on the platform. But this poses another challenging problem where users might flag factual news as inappropriate just becuase it disagrees with their opinion.
That said, we don’t want any hoaxes on Facebook. Our goal is to show people the content they will find most meaningful, and people want accurate news.
I am confident we can find ways for our community to tell us what content is most meaningful, but I believe we must be extremely cautious about becoming arbiters of truth ourselves,
says Zuckerberg in his statement.
In addition, Facebook has not shyed away from highlighting the positive role it played in elevating the total number of voter registrations and prompting users to be aware of the same. The community of friends and families on the platform also moulded it into a playground for discussion about their opinion about either candidates. Zuckerberg also stresseed upon the tools the company provided its users to express their views freely, without restrictions, on the platform.
We helped more than 2 million people register to vote, and based on our estimates we got a similar number of people to vote who might have stayed home otherwise. Most importantly, we gave tens of millions of people tools to share billions of posts and reactions about this election. A lot of that dialog may not have happened without Facebook.