Facebook and fake news problem: Here's what happened, so far

Gizmodo goes on to say that Facebook had taken appropriate measures to hide fake news and hoaxes earlier this year, but realised that the update 'disproportionately impacted right-wing sites'.


A day after election, Mark Zuckerberg faced criticism over how Facebook played a big role in spreading fake news and eventually influencing the elections, which he obviously refuted calling the whole idea ‘crazy’.  Considering 62 percent Americans get their news on social media, this is becoming a bigger worry than one may have expected.

Now, a new Gizmodo report claims that Facbeook chose not to curb fake news. Citing sources related to matter, Gizmodo goes on to say that Facebook was very concerned and had taken appropriate measures to hide fake news and hoaxes earlier this year, but realised that the update 'disproportionately impacted right-wing sites'. So, the company deliberately chose not to take steps to curb fake news as it impacted right-wing publishers.

Facebook outright denied the claim and a spokesperson replied to the site stating, "We did not build and withhold any News Feed changes based on their potential impact on any one political party."  However, Facebook didnt respond to Gizmodo's questions about whether the company built a News Feed update that can identify fake news or hoax stories or whether it could have affected the right-wing. If you remember, Facebook had received a lot of flak earlier this year for its biased trending section and suppressing conservative news.

According to some former workers, trending stories were suppressed, especially stories that were conservative. “This individual says that workers prevented stories about the right-wing CPAC gathering, Mitt Romney, Rand Paul, and other conservative topics from appearing in the highly-influential section, even though they were organically trending among the site’s users,” the report clearly states. News curators reportedly also told Gizmodo that they were asked to artificially inject stories into the trending section, irrespective of whether they were popular or not. Now, the dust had barely settled on this one, and here's a new challenge.

On the other hand, a new Buzzfeed report states that the company employees have formed an 'unofficial task force to question the role their company played in promoting fake news in the lead-up to Donald Trump’s victory' during the recent US elections. Also, they've refuted the statement made by Zuckerberg on  calling the whole idea crazy. “It’s not a crazy idea. What’s crazy is for him to come out and dismiss it like that, when he knows, and those of us at the company know, that fake news ran wild on our platform during the entire campaign season,” an employee told the news site. However, not much is known about the task force being implemented.

Interesting, Zuckerberg issued not one but two statement ever since the fake news conundrum began right after the elections. He also went on to write an elaborate post on wherein he explained how the hoaxes were about both parties and its quite unlikely that they'd influence people's decision. "Of all the content on Facebook, more than 99% of what people see is authentic. Only a very small amount is fake news and hoaxes. The hoaxes that do exist are not limited to one partisan view, or even to politics. Overall, this makes it extremely unlikely hoaxes changed the outcome of this election in one direction or the other," he wrote.  You can read the complete post here.


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