Facebook Employees Reportedly Create A Fake News Task Force

Photo: Jason Alden/Bloomberg via Getty Images.
In August, a fake story claiming that Megyn Kelly had been kicked off Fox News for being a Hillary supporter spread via Facebook's "Trending Topics" section. Then, just before the election, many Facebook users saw another false article alleging that an FBI agent involved in Hillary Clinton's email scandal had committed suicide. On Saturday, Mark Zuckerberg announced that Facebook would be taking action to ensure that all the news shared on the platform is accurate. "We have already launched work enabling our community to flag hoaxes and fake news," he wrote. However, he disputed claims that fake news on Facebook didn't help get Trump elected. "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," he said. Buzzfeed reports that over a dozen Facebook employees, many of whom take issue with Zuckerberg's claim, have formed a task force against fake news. The group has allegedly been meeting to brainstorm recommendations to bring to management. "Fake news ran wild on our platform during the entire campaign season," one member said. "There is a lot more we could be doing using tools already built and in use across Facebook to stop other offensive or harmful content," added another. "If someone posts a fake news article, which claims that the Clintons are employing illegal immigrants, and that incites people to violence against illegal immigrants, isn’t that dangerous, doesn’t that also violate our community standards?" Yet another agreed that the false information could have a far-reaching impact. "To highlight fake news articles in the [news] feed, to promote them so they get millions of shares by people who think they are real, that’s not something we should allow to happen," they complained. "Facebook is getting played by people using us to spread their bullshit." As of now, you can report fake stories you see on Facebook, but the employees believe the company has been slow to respond to these reports. The task force members are reportedly remaining anonymous and convening secretly, and Facebook hasn't confirmed its existence.

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