Zuckerberg: Fake Facebook news didn't help Trump win

CEO denies that social network influenced Americans' votes

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg yesterday denied that his social network helped Donald Trump win the US election.

In an interview at the Techonomy conference in California, Zuckerberg said fake news on Facebook could not have influenced the outcome of the presidential election.

He said: "Personally, I think the idea that fake news on Facebook - it's a very small amount of the content - to think it influenced the election in any way is a pretty crazy idea."

He added that if fake news were shared, it was likely that both candidates adopted this strategy.

After Trump's win, Fortune reported the views of critics who believed fake news on Facebook played a role in the US election outcome.

Facebook has about 1.79 billion users of all political affiliations. During the interview, which was carried out by David Kirkpatrick, author of the book The Facebook effect, Zuckerberg highlighted the variety of backgrounds populating the Facebook community.

"Even if 90% of your friends are Democrats, probably 10% are Republicans," he said. "Even if you live in some state or country you will know some people in another state, another country. That means that the information you are getting through the social system is going to be inherently more diverse than you would have gotten through news stations."

Zuckerberg's interview took place two days after Trump won the election, despite Hillary Clinton winning more votes overall.

He said: "Voters make decisions based on their lived experience. There is a profound lack of empathy in asserting that the only reason someone would have voted the way they did is because they saw fake news. If you believe that, then I don't think you internalised the message that Trump voters are trying to send in this election."

Zuckerberg did not, however, state what message he was referring to.

This is not the first time that Facebook is accused of spreading fake news. In August, Facebook substituted its team of news curators with algorithms that automatically select stories to place in its Trending News section.

This could have led to false news being selected without them being verified. Facebook hence introduced a new 'review team', to try and solve this problem.

In the interview, Zuckerberg admitted that a lot still had to be done to improve the quality of news that reaches the public, but he dismissed the idea that fake news could influence voters to this extent.

Just a few months ago, Reuters reported that Facebook, alongside other social media and technology platforms such as Twitter, joined a group called First Draft Coalition, whose goal is to tackle fake news and produce more trustworthy information.

Source: IT PRO