With rumours of bias swirling around Facebook’s role in the recent US elections, Mark Zuckerberg himself has come out to claim that the news was in no way influential in the outcome.
“Of all the content on Facebook, more than 99% of what people see is authentic,” he said in a post published on Facebook. “Only a very small amount is fake news and hoaxes. The hoaxes that do exist are not limited to one partisan view, or even to politics. Overall, this makes it extremely unlikely hoaxes changed the outcome of this election in one direction or the other.”
Facebook has previously acknowledged that fake news on its website is a problem and one which users must find themselves. Earlier this week, it was reported that an update to the feed that could identify fake news was held back after it was found to have affected right-wing media sources more.
Facebook CEO also called the idea that fake news and hoaxes potentially blew wind on the election outcome a “pretty crazy” one.
“This is an area where I believe we must proceed very carefully though. Identifying the “truth” is complicated. While some hoaxes can be completely debunked, a greater amount of content, including from mainstream sources, often gets the basic idea right but some details wrong or omitted. An even greater volume of stories express an opinion that many will disagree with and flag as incorrect even when factual. 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.”
Facebook is yet to go over the embarrassment of showing memorial profiles of thousands of users that it claimed to be dead, including Zuckerberg himself. Needless to say, this is a hard time to be in Facebook’s PR.