How Facebook plans to crack down on fake news

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg shared his plan of attack against phony news stories on the social media platform, following up on an earlier announcement on work "to flag fake news and hoaxes" in the wake of a vicious election cycle.

In a new post, Zuckerberg said Facebook previously relied on users to determine what stories were and weren't accurate, and said the company still believes in "erring on the side of letting people share what they want whenever possible."

While the CEO made it clear Facebook will continue to "rely on our community and trusted third parties," he knows "people want accurate information." So, the company plans to make some changes.

Zuckerberg outlined seven projects he said are underway to stop the spread of misinformation among Facebook's 1.79 billion users worldwide:

  1. Improve detection
  2. Make it easier for users to report false news
  3. Third-party verification
  4. Labeling stories as false
  5. Insuring “quality” news appears in the News Feed
  6. Crack down on ads with misinformation
  7. Work with journalists to develop better fact-checking systems

Zuckerberg didn't share a timeline for implementation or promise the projects would correct the problem — "some of these ideas will work well, and some will not," he wrote. But, he did say the company is  "committed to getting this right."

The spread of fake election news escalated the conversation about misinformation on Facebook. Some blamed the social network for the election’s outcome, but Zuckerberg said it was "extremely unlikely" that phony stories posted on Facebook influenced President-elect Donald Trump’s win.

Nearly half of Americans get their news from Facebook, according to the Pew Research Center. In contrast, just two in 10 U.S. adults get news from print newspapers.

As its dominance grew in recent years, Facebook resisted claims it's a de facto news publisher, exercising editorial judgment with the power to sway the minds of billions, and instead reiterated it's simply a technology platform.

But even President Obama has identified Facebook's influence. He addressed the issue during a pre-election Michigan rally for Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.

"And people, if they just repeat attacks enough, and outright lies over and over again, as long as it's on Facebook and people can see it, as long as it’s on social media, people start believing it. And it creates this dust cloud of nonsense," he said.

KGW


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