Mark Zuckerberg Defends Facebook, Claims 99 Percent Of Posts Are 'Authentic'By Darlene Powers Nov 15, 2016
While Zuckerberg has said the amount of fake news on Facebook is minuscule, it's not always easy to separate fact from fiction. Now a new report from Gizmodo claims the company chose not to take steps to suppress fake news earlier this year because it would have "disproportionately impacted right-wing news sites by downgrading or removing that content from people's feeds".
And he said that more than 99% of content on Facebook "is authentic". That said, it does lend the latest charges of political cowardice a little more fuel than they might have had otherwise.
Zuckerberg said work has already begun that would enable users "to flag fake news and hoaxes". That system is still in place.
In August, Facebook released another News Feed update created to reduce clickbait stories. The second approach was the machine-learning classifier.
A separate program targeting clickbait is the one that was scrapped, according to a Facebook source. In another report, the publication reported that teenagers in Macedonia were operating popular Facebook pages that spread false conservative news, pushing users to click through to their 140 websites that host false USA politics news and making them thousands of dollars a month. The update was ultimately halted, although it's not clear if there were other problems that prevented it from becoming a public feature.
"It developed two versions of a fix for clickbait this year, and chose to trust algorithmic machine learning detection instead of only user behaviour", the report said, quoting a Facebook spokesperson. The company's willingness to defile its own trending news section to appease conservatives doesn't necessarily mean it would do the same to the news feed. Fake reports circulated that Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly had been fired just after the Trending Topics team was let go, while a 9/11 tabloid conspiracy story rose to the top of the algorithm-controlled Trending Topics just prior to the anniversary.
Facebook has said it uses an algorithm, not human beings, to choose its "trending news".
The end of the election has not stopped the spread of false stories.
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Portman initially endorsed Trump, but later withdrew that backing and avoided appearing with Trump or even mentioning his name. Republicans now hold a 247-188 majority, including three vacant seats, the most the GOP has commanded since their 270 in 1931.
Bryan Lynn wrote this story for Learning English, based on reports from VOA News and the Associated Press. The policy would include sites that distribute false news, a Google spokeswoman said. A rampant fake news problem you refuse to address.
The larger conversation about Facebook's responsibility regarding news has been going on for months now. While long-running partisan outlets may be held accountable for exaggeration, newer outlets built specifically to take advantage of virality on networks like Facebook don't face the same repercussions.
According to Gizmodo, an anonymous source with "direct knowledge of the company's decision-making" says that the company "absolutely" has the power to shut down fake news site, but "there was a lot of fear about upsetting conservatives". More clearly needs to be done.
This puts Facebook in the uneasy position of being the arbiter of truth. That could force it to make more wide-reaching calls about what to censor that would inevitably invite blame. Or at least, they should be.
"Identifying the "truth" is complicated", Zuckerberg added.
Although, Zuckerberg did not completely denied the absence of fake news but assuaged the fears highlighting the action being undertaken and progress being made towards eliminating fake news and hoaxes.
As a number of people have pointed out, the social network can't have it both ways.
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