Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has denied that Facebook's facilitation of fake news influenced the United States presidential election result.
Commentators have pondered Facebook's role in the election after it was shown to allow free circulation of untrue stories – some lurid - created solely to generate advertising revenue by offering tales designed to tap into heightened emotions close to election day. It's felt some of those stories may have decisively motivated voters.
“Of all the content on Facebook, more than 99% of what people see is authentic,” Zuckerberg said in a post on his personal page. “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.”
Zuckerberg goes on to say that “we don't want any hoaxes on Facebook. Our goal is to show people the content they will find most meaningful, and people want accurate news.” The Social Network ™ has nonetheless “already launched work enabling our community to flag hoaxes and fake news, and there is more we can do here.”
“I am confident we can find ways for our community to tell us what content is most meaningful,” he continues, “but I believe we must be extremely cautious about becoming arbiters of truth ourselves.”
Zuckerberg goes on to claim that Facebook was the motivator for two million people to register to vote and "helped millions of people connect with candidates so they could hear from them directly and be better informed."
That last sentiment may just be the most telling thing of all in Zuckerberg's post. ®