Mark Zuckerberg has addressed the issue of misinformation and fake news on Facebook and revealed on his own timeline on the social network what the company does to tackle this menace.
Zuckerberg previously rubbished the claims that it was Facebook that turned the tide away from Hillary Clinton and influenced the election results. However, it turns out that the increasing questions about the social network’s indirect involvement through spreading of fake news seems to have forced the young CEO into explaining what they are doing to tackle this problem.
In what seems to be a response to the continuous questions being raised by people in the US and across the globe about steps that the social network is taking to handle misinformation Zuckerberg wrote on his timeline about Facebook’s stance on misinformation. Zuckerberg stressed that their goal is to connect people around the world with information and stories that they will find meaningful. He acknowledged the inherent quality of information – accuracy – and how it is important.
“We’ve been working on this problem for a long time and we take this responsibility seriously. We’ve made significant progress, but there is more work to be done”, he noted.
Zuckerberg talks about how the social media giant has relied on the community to help understand which stories are fake and which are legit. He said that anyone on Facebook can report a link as false, and after a lot of people have flagged it as such; Facebook tries to classify them as misinformation.
“Similar to clickbait, spam and scams, we penalise this content in News Feed so it’s much less likely to spread,” Zuckerberg said.
He also pointed out that Facebook is careful not to discourage the sharing of opinions by ‘mistakenly restricting accurate content’, and instead relies on its community and third parties to be arbitrators. Zuckerberg also pointed out that it is not normal to share the specifics of what the company plans to do in tackling misinformation, but finds it an important issue that needs to be addressed.
Zuckerberg outlined some of the projects that Facebook is currently working on-
1. Stronger detection – The most important thing we can do is improve our ability to classify misinformation. This means better technical systems to detect what people will flag as false before they do it themselves.
2. Easy reporting – Making it much easier for people to report stories as fake will help us catch more misinformation faster.
3. 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.
4. Warnings – We are exploring labeling stories that have been flagged as false by third parties or our community, and showing warnings when people read or share them.
5. Related articles quality – We are raising the bar for stories that appear in related articles under links in News Feed.
6. Disrupting fake news economics – A lot of misinformation is driven by financially motivated spam. We’re looking into disrupting the economics with ads policies like the one we announced earlier this week, and better ad farm detection.
7. Listening – We will continue to work with journalists and others in the news industry to get their input, in particular, to better understand their fact checking systems and learn from them.
Some of these ideas will work well, and some will not. But I want you to know that we have always taken this seriously, we understand how important the issue is for our community and we are committed to getting this right.