How important exactly is Facebook? Can the social network really influence who becomes the next president of the most powerful country in the world? Well, Mark Zuckerberg doesn’t seem to think so. The Facebook CEO said as much when he called rumors of Facebook fake news affecting election results as absurd. However, a section of Facebook employees appear to disagree.
Apparently, a section of Facebook users have formed a task force in order to question the way things are run within the social networking website. And yes, they do not find the idea of Donald Trump having been aided by the fake news on the social media platform, irrelevant.
Speaking to BuzzFeed on the condition of anonymity, an employee from the FB Engineering division said,
It’s not a crazy idea. What’s crazy is for him to come out and dismiss it like that, when he knows, and those of us at the company know, that fake news ran wild on our platform during the entire campaign season.
The employee also went on to add that he had been warned by his superiors against speaking to the press — hence the need for anonymity.
If BuzzFeed’s sources can be believed, a group of employees have also formed a task force with the aim of battling the Fake news on the platform. While the task force currently numbers in dozens, it reflects the feelings of as many as hundreds of employees who are disenchanted with the FB management’s stand upon Fake news. The group is planning to formalize itself and eventually come up with a list of recommendations to Facebook.
Facebook has repeatedly made its stand clear on the issue.
While Facebook played a part in this election, it was just one of many ways people received their information – and was one of the many ways people connected with their leaders, engaged in the political process and shared their views.
So basically, Facebook is clearing itself of any responsibility over whether the news on the platform is factually correct or not. Again, there are two sides to this coin. Facebook has a huge audience and indeed, it is the primary source of information for many. As such, many would say that the social networking platform has a responsibility to make sure that the information it provides to its users is correct.
However, the social media platform’s points are somewhat valid as well. Considering that it has a huge, huge number of independent publishers — it would be ridiculously hard for the company to monitor each of its publishers separately. That said though, a clear line still needs to be drawn between absolute bullshit that has the potential to affect huge events and harmless little pieces of news such as “The eight headed man from Tokyo” and the sort. Facebook already has a reporting tool available for the latter — although it is still unclear how often the company responds to these reports.
As a company, Facebook is out there to make money. However, what happens when a fake, controversial piece of news gains huge popularity — as it usually does. Does Facebook remove it and stick to proper, verified news at the cost of revenue? It isn’t a news website after all. Maybe it should be up to us to stop paying so much attention to every random piece of news that we see on our feed and get something straight — Not everything you see on Facebook, or the rest of the web for that matter, is true.