Facebook 'Task Force' Takes Aim at Fake News

Facebook 'Task Force' Takes Aim at Fake News

(image credit: Ludovic Toinel)

A group of Facebook employees have formed an unofficial task force with the goal of holding the social media site responsible for the fake news segments promoted on the site during the 2016 Presidential Election, according to Buzzfeed.

We discussed the potential impact fake news segments may have held on the election in Friday’s blog, and in the time since Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has once again responded to the allegations. In a lengthy post on the social media channel on Saturday, Zuckerberg stated:

“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.”

However, Zuckerberg’s statement was quickly contested by members of the task force, which reportedly contains employees from across the company. An anonymous source said:

“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."

The sources provided little information about the task force, but revealed that while it currently contains “more than dozens” of Facebook employees, “hundreds” of employees had expressed grievances about the way the site handled fake news during the election. The task force plans to formalize its future meetings and to provide a list of its recommendations to Facebook’s senior management.

On Monday, Facebook updated its Audience Network policies, which determine how its advertising platform is run. While Facebook has already banned ads that show “misleading or illegal” content, the updated policies now cover fake news sites too, which use Facebook as a means for spreading fake news for monetary purposes. Denying such sites the ability to profit from fake news on Facebook is a step in the right direction but at this point, the damage may have already been done.

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