Mark Zuckerberg shares Facebook’s plan to combat fake news

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said late Friday that the tech firm is exploring ways to combat fake news on the site after the company faced mounting criticism that it isn’t doing enough to prevent misinformation from going viral.

“We’ve been working on this problem for a long time and we take this responsibility seriously,” he wrote in a Facebook post about the topic. “We’ve made significant progress, but there is more work to be done.”

Some people blamed Facebook for Donald Trump’s presidential victory because fake election stories circulated on the site and the company curates the information it shows to its 1.79 billion users on News Feeds, creating a “filter bubble” or echo chamber. The number of people who have been consuming news on social media sites has been on the rise.

Zuckerberg said earlier he thought the idea that Facebook influenced the outcome of the election is a “pretty crazy idea,” noting that less than 1 percent of news is fake on Facebook.

Since then, the criticism Facebook has been facing over fake news has only grown. President Barack Obama raised concerns about the spread of misinformation on Facebook this week during a visit to German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Facebook’s employees and executives have reportedly been discussing this issue internally. BuzzFeed also recently compared the engagement of fake election stories to ones published by major news outlets. Some questioned the methodology of the study, though, which concluded that “fake news stories outperformed real news on Facebook.”

Zuckerberg said the company is looking at different ways to combat the the spread of misinformation. The tech firm is working on a stronger detection of fake news, making it easier for people to report misinformation, working with fact-checking organizations, showing warnings on stories flagged as fake, raising the bar for stories that appear in related articles, making it harder for people to profit off fake news and listening to journalists about this issue.

These projects are still a work in progress, but are currently underway, Zuckerberg said.

“The problems here are complex, both technically and philosophically,” he wrote. “We believe in giving people a voice, which means erring on the side of letting people share what they want whenever possible. We need to be careful not to discourage sharing of opinions or to mistakenly restrict accurate content.”

The 32-year-old tech mogul outlined the company plans in a Facebook post once he landed in Lima, Peru, where he was speaking Saturday at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation’s CEO Summit.

Dressed in a suit, Zuckerberg talked about the company’s work in education, health, artificial intelligence, safety and internet connectivity. There, he urged world leaders to help connect more people to the internet, which Zuckerberg said helps lifts people out of poverty.

But he also stressed the challenges that come with solving these problems and the balances that the company often needs to strike, including when it comes to free speech.

“We can work to give people a voice, but we also need to do our part to stop hate and violence and misinformation,” he said.

Photo: Mark Zuckerberg, chairman and CEO of Facebook, speaks at the CEO summit during the annual Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum in Lima, Peru, Saturday, Nov. 19, 2016. (AP Photo/Esteban Felix)

 

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