These Are the Most Memorable Things Mark Zuckerberg Has Said About Facebook’s Fake News Problem
Everybody knows that Facebook has a fake news problem. That includes Mark Zuckerberg, the platform‘s founder, who has made numerous statements about how the social network is dealing with it. Zuckerberg has made some controversial comments about how Facebook handles different types of content. And he also laid out an interesting way of looking at the three kinds of fake news that pop up on Facebook.
Read on to check out Zuckerberg’s most memorable quotes on how Facebook identifies and deals with fake news on its platform.
“We’re not kids in a dorm room anymore, right?”
The quote above is one of the most memorable lines for Mark Zuckerberg’s July 2018 interview with Kara Swisher of Recode. Zuckerberg was talking about the way laws around the world will place more responsibility on social networks. Those laws are expected to require companies like Facebook to police terrorism, bullying, hate speech, and other kinds of content (like fake news) on their platforms.
Zuckerberg explained, “I think that there are good and bad ways to do that, but my general take is that a lot of that stuff can be pretty reasonable. I mean, I think we’re not kids in a dorm room anymore, right?” Facebook has built artificial intelligence to identify content from terrorists. And its systems can detect that content before any person sees it or flags it. That exemplifies the level of resources that the social network has in place to stop the spread of fake news.
“Our responsibility is to prevent hoaxes from going viral and being widely distributed.”
Entrepreneur reports that in the same interview with Recode, Mark Zuckerberg noted that Facebook wouldn’t remove fake news altogether. Instead, it will reduce that content’s distribution. If Facebook’s fact-checkers encounter fake news, they’ll curtail that content’s distribution. That way, fewer people see it.
But Zuckerberg explained that Facebook wouldn’t remove content from the platform. (Unless it attacks individuals or could result in physical harm.) Then, he added some controversial comments:
I’m Jewish, and there’s a set of people who deny that the Holocaust happened. I find that deeply offensive. But at the end of the day, I don’t believe that our platform should take that down because I think there are things that different people get wrong. I don’t think that they’re intentionally getting it wrong.
There are three kinds of fake news
Another of Mark Zuckerberg’s most memorable comments on Facebook’s fake news problem explained how the platform categorizes the types of fake news that pop up in people’s Facebook feeds. As Vox explains, Zuckerberg said in April 2018 that Facebook sees three kinds of fake news on its platform:
- Fake news from spammers: Zuckerberg explained that the first kind of fake news comes from spammers. Spammers make money on the platform using Facebook ads. ” As our systems get better at detecting this, we show the content less, which drives the economic value for them down,” Zuckerberg said.
- Content from state actors (or Russian bot farms): Zuckerberg characterized the activity of Russian bot farms on Facebook as “a security problem.” He explained, “You never fully solve it, but you strengthen your defenses. They’re not doing it for money. But you make it harder and harder.”
- Fake news from real media: The biggest challenge of all, according to Zuckerberg? Dealing with the problem of fake news from real media outlets “who are probably saying what they think is true, but just have varying levels of accuracy or trustworthiness.” He mused, “Folks are saying stuff that may be wrong, but, like, they mean it, they think that they’re speaking their truth, and do you really want to shut them down for doing that?”
“We didn’t take a broad enough view of our responsibility, and that was a big mistake.”
Also in April 2018, Mark Zuckerberg made what The Wall Street Journal characterized as an “apology tour.” He began that tour after it came to light that user data was improperly shared by an analytics firm — Cambridge Analytica — tied to the 2016 election of Donald Trump. In prepared testimony, Zuckerberg said that on a series of issues — including fake news, interference in elections, and hate speech — Facebook “didn’t take a broad enough view of our responsibility.”
Facebook came under fire for helping to spread fake news and for allowing Cambridge Analytica to access information from tens of millions of user profiles. Russian companies and individuals used Facebook to interfere in the presidential election, of which Zuckerberg said, “This was a major breach of trust, and I’m really sorry that this happened.” But he also added, “If you told me in 2004 that a big part of my responsibility today would be to protect the integrity of elections, I wouldn’t believe that that’s something I’d have to work on.”
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