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Friday, 11 November 2016

Zuckerberg Says Fake Facebook News Had No Influence on Trump’s victory



On Thursday, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg disputed the suggestion that hoax news stories circulating on the social network affected the outcome of this year’s election, characterizing claims otherwise as “pretty out there.”

With reports blaming the company for the spread of misinformation on its social network, and the adverse affect that has on its users, the company had no choice but to respond.


Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg addressed the accusations directly during his talk at the Techonomy conference. “I’ve seen some of the stories around this election,” he remarked. “Personally I think the idea that fake news on Facebook, which is a very small amount of the content, influenced the election in any way…is a pretty crazy idea.”

He continued: “There is a certain profound lack of empathy in asserting that someone voted the way they did…because they saw some fake news. If you believe that then I don’t think you have internalized the message Trump supporters in this election are trying to send.”

Even before election night, reports had surfaced claiming misinformation was rife on Facebook’s largely automated trending topics feed. Then, earlier this week, BuzzFeed uncovered a fake news empire that had infiltrated the platform’s user-led forums (known as “groups”), tracing its origins to Macedonia. Following the election result, and Donald Trump’s ascendancy to the highest seat in the land, the criticism only grew louder.

For his part, Zuckerberg claims the issue is being blown out of proportion: “All the research that we have suggests that this isn’t really a problem. We study this, we know that it’s a very small volume of anything,” said the Facebook founder.

“Hoaxes aren’t new on Facebook. There have been hoaxes on the internet and there were hoaxes before, and we do our best to make it so that people can report that,” he added.

Asked more generally about Trump’s win, Zuckerberg echoed a sentiment he expressed Wednesday night about long-term progress being bigger than any one election. Among other issues, Zuckerberg insisted that education, disease treatment and virtual reality will “keep on pushing forward” in the long run.

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