Facebook Attempts To Combat Fake News

Facing relentless criticism for failing to curb “fake” news, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is calling for patience and understanding.

“We take misinformation seriously,” Zuckerberg writes in a new blog post. “We've made significant progress, but there is more work to be done.”

The young mogul said Facebook has historically relied on its community of users to point out inaccurate news content, but admitted that the task has become increasingly “complex, both technically and philosophically.”

“We believe in giving people a voice, which means erring on the side of letting people share what they want whenever possible,” Zuckerberg explained. “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.” Further deflecting blame, Zuckerberg insisted that the percentage of misinformation on Facebook remains “relatively small.”

That said, he promised that the social giant has much work to do.

Moving forward, areas of focus include stronger detection measures, including better classification of “misinformation.” Explains Zuckerberg: “This means better technical systems to detect what people will flag as false before they do it themselves.”

Facebook also plans to make reporting of misinformation easier for users, as well as adding 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,” Zuckerberg promised.

In addition, Facebook is considering labeling stories that have been flagged as “false” by third parties or its own community, and showing warnings when users read or share them.

As previously stated, the company would also like to raise the bar for stories that appear in related articles under links in News Feed. Also, Facebook hopes to disrupt bad actors profiting from the spread of “fake” news, which will likely include policies similar to its recent commitment to better “ad farm” detection.

Earlier this month, Zuckerberg dismissed criticism that Facebook contributed to Donald Trump’s presidential election. “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.”

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