Mark Zuckerberg, co-founder and CEO of Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB), has denied allegations that his company was not responsible for influencing people’s votes. In response to reports, the CEO said that fake news on the social networking did not influence the elections. Speaking at the Techonomy conference, Zuckerberg said that “the idea that fake news on Facebook, which is a very small amount of the content, influenced the election in any way…is a pretty crazy idea.”
Facebook is under heavy criticism for fake news on its site. The company is being blamed for the spread of misinformation on its network, according to a report from Digital Trends. Zuckerberg also said that “there is a certain profound lack of empathy in asserting that someone voted the way they did…because they saw some fake news. If you believe that then I don’t think you have internalized the message Trump supporters in this election are trying to send.”
Fake News on Facebook
Facebook wants to get a foothold in the news industry. The company introduced a Trending feature that syndicates news stories to the news feed of its users. The social networking company faced criticism for biased reporting against conservatives. As a result, the company fired all the human editors of its Trending feature. The company decided to use a smart algorithm to pick up news stories that appeal to the largest number of users on the platform. But, the first thing that its news AI published without human intervention was a piece of fake news that is skewed against conservatives.
The site syndicated a news story titled “BREAKING: Fox News Exposes Traitor Megyn Kelly, Kicks Her Out For Backing Hillary.” The problem however is that Fox news has not fired Megyn Kelly and neither has she endorsed Hillary Clinton for president.
Apart from fake news, the algorithm behind Trending news was found guilty of pushing out offensive and inappropriate news. For instance, it picked up a #McChicken hashtag from Twitter to link to a story link of a video of a man masturbating with a McDonald’s sandwich. Human editors would definitely not curate such news to the news feed. In another story, Trending got into racist issues when a headline line reading: “SNL Star Calls Ann Coulter a Racist C*nt.”
Fake News Create Dust Cloud of Nonsense: Obama
President Obama criticized the spread of ‘crazy conspiracy theorizing’ on social networks such as Facebook. He made an appearance at the University of Michigan in a rally for Hillary Clinton, and said that if they [people] 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 is on social media, people start believing it. And it creates this dust cloud of nonsense.”
An investigation by BuzzFeed revealed that 38% of the posts shared from three large right-wing politics pages on Facebook included ‘false or misleading information.’ BuzzFeed, in a follow-up investigation, found that teenagers in Macedonia used to create fake, pro-Trump news stories that quickly gained huge popularity on Facebook.