Fake news on Facebook: Here's is how CEO Mark Zuckerberg intends to curb it

Having faced criticism from none other than the outgoing United States President Barack Obama for promoting fake news and contents on its platform, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has now announced a slew of measures to tackle this problem.

By Ritesh K Srivastava | Last Updated: Nov 21, 2016, 07:17 AM IST
Fake news on Facebook: Here's is how CEO Mark Zuckerberg intends to curb it

San Francisco: Having faced criticism from none other than the outgoing United States President Barack Obama for promoting fake news and contents on its platform, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has now announced a slew of measures to tackle this problem.

In a Facebook post, published this Friday, Zuckerberg maintained that he was trying to hard to prevent the spread of such fake and malicious content on the social networking website. 

The young CEO had initially dismissed concerns about fake news when he said the idea that Facebook was a hotbed for such content was "pretty crazy."

"The problems here are complex, both technically and philosophically," Zuckerberg wrote Friday night. "We believe in giving people a voice, which also means erring on the side of letting people share what they want whenever possible," he added. 

He said, ''We do not want to be arbiters of truth ourselves, but instead rely on our community and trusted third parties" to help moderate content on the site.

Facebook also reportedly fired the human team of curators who watched its trending news items, leaving its algorithm to sort links.

US President Barack Obama had recently criticised Facebook for spreading fake news that favoured 
Republican candidate Donald Trump – a charge which was denied by the group.

President Obama has been the highest-ranking person to have criticised Facebook, first calling fake news articles on Facebook a "dust cloud of nonsense," and later saying false reports on the internet amount to "active misinformation."

Facebook was sharply criticised during the last days of the US presidential election for hosting false news stories that were widely shared on the platform. Much of that content was election-related, leading to suggestions that the fake reports potentially influenced the election's outcome.

Buzzfeed too found that top-performing fake stories performed better on Facebook than accurate stories shared by traditional media sites during the US presidential election campaign.

"We take misinformation seriously. We know people want accurate information. We've been working on this problem for a long time and we take this responsibility seriously," the Facebook CEO said.

To mitigate this problem, Zuckerberg outlined a few solutions:-

Facebook has decided to ban sites that post fake news from using its advertising network to make money.

Facebook group has decided to put in place better technical systems to detect what people will flag as false before they do it themselves.

Making it much easier for people to report stories as fake to catch more misinformation faster.

Third-party verification via "respected fact-checking organizations."

Facebook has decided to remove "financially motivated spam".

Labelling stories that have been flagged as false by third parties and the Facebook community, and showing warnings when people read or share them.

Working with journalists and others in the news industry to get input and better understand their fact-checking systems and learn from them.

(Based on inputs from agencies)