Scribd Scoop: Facebook and Its Problem With Fake News

Facebook has a problem. 

It’s not that you’re seeing too many baby pictures in your feed. Or that the friend you haven’t spoken with since high school sent you a friend request. 

This problem runs deep: Facebook has become a key player in the spreading of fake news. And some people even think that fake news swayed the election. 

“Content farms” and “hyperpartisan” sites are churning out the fake news — like that the pope and Denzel Washington endorsed Donald Trump, or that Hillary Clinton canceled an event because people were shouting “lock her up” (all false!) — in order to get clicks and page views. And not only is Facebook’s algorithm unable to slow down the spread of fake news, but it’s actually spreading the misinformation further. 

The Scoop

Zuckerberg: ‘Crazy’ to say Facebook influenced election

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg fired back, saying it’s “crazy” that fake news had anything to do with the election results and that voters deserve more credit. “Voters make decisions based on their lived experience,” he said.

Facebook’s Responsibility

Facebooks fake news problem: Whats its responsibility?

Facebook relies on algorithms to serve up stories that people want to engage with, either by sharing or clicking the “like” button. But Zuckerberg insists that Facebook isn’t a media platform, and it’s not the company’s responsibility to vet news before it's shared. But it is taking some steps to curb the issue. 

Facebook Isn’t Alone

Google also gets fooled by fake election news

Facebook isn’t the only one with a fake news problem. A fake news story claiming that Trump won the popular vote slipped into Google’s search results. To combat this, Google says that it, too, will take steps to prevent the spreading of fake news, notably by stopping digital ads from showing up on sites that “misrepresent, misstate, or conceal information” and cutting off their revenue. 

More On Facebook and Google

Enter Google’s headquarters in In The Plex for an insider’s tour, and learn about everything from the history and founders, to the policies and work ethos, that has shaped its innovative output for decades. 

In The Facebook Effect, David Kirkpatrick’s unprecedented access into the largest social company reveals a fascinating future shaped by a history of trial and error by the luminary of digital connectivity.


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