Update: Mark Zuckerberg shared another post updating users on what Facebook will do to combat fake news on the social network. After assuring readers that the site's bottom line is to take misinformation seriously, Zuckerberg reiterates Facebook's long-standing position of letting the community police false information with reports and that such links are penalized in the News Feed. "The problems here are complex, both technically and philosophically," Zuckerberg writes. "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. We do not want to be arbiters of truth ourselves, but instead rely on our community and trusted third parties." He then outlines that Facebook intends to improve its detection and flag false media, make reporting of false stories easier, reach out to more third-party fact-checking sites to identify misinformation, explore warning labels that would label stories as false, raise the bar for stories that appear as Related Links in the News Feed, disrupt the economics of fake-news sites, and listen to feedback from journalists and others in the news industry.
This story was originally posted on November 13. In a post on his Facebook profile late on Saturday, Mark Zuckerberg said Facebook is planning to deal with those endless fake stories “soon."
"Our goal is to show people the content they will find most meaningful, and people want accurate news," the CEO wrote. "We have already launched work enabling our community to flag hoaxes and fake news, and there is more we can do here. We have made progress, and we will continue to work on this to improve further."
Recently, fake news on Facebook included a widely shared false report just days before the election: The post claimed that an FBI agent investigating Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server had killed himself. The story seemed designed to derail the campaign. Your newsfeed is tailored to show you stories similar to what you and your friends have liked and shared in the past, and a fake story aimed at supporters of either candidate during the contentious election could easily spread — thus helping its creators earn major money from ad revenue.
President Barack Obama even called out the platform — which Facebook insists is not a media outlet — in the days leading up to the election.
However, Zuckerberg is adamant that fake news posts on Facebook did not alter the election, explaining in his post that only a small amount of posts are fake.
"Of all the content on Facebook, more than 99% of what people see is authentic," he writes. "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."
A recent BuzzFeed investigation found that Zuckerberg's 99% figure might not be accurate. According to the report, 38% of posts shared from three large right-wing politics pages on Facebook included "false or misleading information" and three large left-wing pages did the same nearly 20% of the time.
We also learned something amazing reading Zuckerberg's note. Facebook helped more people register to vote than ever.
"Overall, I am proud of our role giving people a voice in this election," he writes. "We helped more than 2 million people register to vote, and based on our estimates we got a similar number of people to vote who might have stayed home otherwise."