New York: Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg says the idea that fake news spread on Facebook influenced the outcome of the US election is "crazy."
Still, the majority of Americans (six in 10) say they get at least some news from social media , mostly Facebook, according to the Pew Research Center. While a lot of this news comes from established outlets -- whether CNN or BuzzFeed News, misinformation spreads on Facebook just as information does, shared by users, recommended by software and amplified by both.
Sources of spurious information has ranged from news articles produced by "content farms" for the sole purpose of getting clicks, to "hyperpartisan" sites from both sides of the political spectrum, churning out stories that are misleading at best.
Case in point: "FBI agent suspected in Hillary email leaks fround dead in apparent murder-suicide" - a fabricated headline from a fake news site called the Denver Guardian, was shared thousands of times in the days leading up to the election.
Is it possible that voters were swayed for or against a candidate, much like those same people might buy a product after seeing an ad on Facebook?
Zuckerberg says voters deserve more credit.
During an interview yesterday with "The Facebook Effect" author David Kirkpatrick, Zuckerberg said idea that people voted the way they did because of bogus information on Facebook shows a "profound lack of empathy" for supporters of Donald Trump.
"Voters make decisions based on their lived experience," he said.
Given the acerbic political contest from which the country just emerged, when countless longtime friends, even family, were unfriended, many are left to wonder if there would be an alternative American history being written today if it were not for Facebook, Twitter and the like.
This, after all, was the first truly social media election, playing out on Twitter and Facebook as much or more than it did on major networks, in living rooms and around watercoolers.
But isn't social media just a reflection of our world as it exists? Has Facebook become an easy scapegoat when the answer is far more complex?
While Pew found that many believe political discussions on social media to be "uniquely angry and disrespectful," a comparable number have the same impression of face-to-face conversations when it comes to Democrats, the GOP, or another party.