Mark Zuckerberg outlines Facebook’s plans to tackle fake news

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has outlined the social network’s plans to tackle the issue of fake news circulated via the site, after accusations it had an influence on the US election outcome.

Zuckerberg: fake news is a

Zuckerberg: fake news is “complex, both technically and philosophically”

In a Facebook post Zuckerberg outlined a number of initiatives it is working on including trying to stop fake news sites making money from the site and potentially warnings for stories flagged as false by users.

The world’s largest social network has come in for criticism after headlines such as the Pope endorsing Donald Trump and Hilary Clinton selling weapons to Isis were widely circulated. A study by Statista showed the reach of those fake stories:

statista-fake-news-stories-inforgraphic  In a post Zuckerberg admitted the problems are “complex, both technically and philosophically” but said the percentage of fake news is “relatively small”.

He added: “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.”

Some fear attempts to crackdown on fake news could see legitimate news sites, reliant on Facebook to drive traffic, punished and fears it could also stop new media players from gaining traction via the platform.

Zuckerberg laid out several things the company is working on:

– Stronger detection. The most important thing we can do is improve our ability to classify misinformation. This means better technical systems to detect what people will flag as false before they do it themselves.

– Easy reporting. Making it much easier for people to report stories as fake will help us catch more misinformation faster.

– Third party verification. There are many respected fact checking organizations and, while we have reached out to some, we plan to learn from many more.

– Warnings. We are exploring labeling stories that have been flagged as false by third parties or our community, and showing warnings when people read or share them.

– Related articles quality. We are raising the bar for stories that appear in related articles under links in News Feed.

– Disrupting fake news economics. A lot of misinformation is driven by financially motivated spam. We’re looking into disrupting the economics with ads policies like the one we announced earlier this week, and better ad farm detection.

– Listening. We will continue to work with journalists and others in the news industry to get their input, in particular, to better understand their fact checking systems and learn from them.


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