Since the 2016 U.S. presidential election, there have been rumours that fake news on social media is the only reason Trump won the people over.
Barack Obama has also brought up the topic a number of times, reportedly concerned about the lasting impact of the issue.
While he recently rejected the idea that fake news is to blame, Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook CEO and co-founder, has addressed the issue on his own Facebook page.
“A lot of you have asked what we're doing about misinformation, so I wanted to give an update,” he writes.
“The bottom line is: we take misinformation seriously. Our goal is to connect people with the stories they find most meaningful, and we know people want accurate information.”
Zuckerberg says that they’ve been working on this problem for a long time but have made significant progress.
“Historically, we have relied on our community to help us understand what is fake and what is not,” he says.
“Anyone on Facebook can report any link as false, and we use signals from those reports along with a number of others -- like people sharing links to myth-busting sites such as Snopes -- to understand which stories we can confidently classify as misinformation.”
However, Zuckerberg explains that the problems are complex.
“We believe in giving people a voice, which means erring on the side of letting people share what they want whenever possible. We need to be careful not to discourage sharing of opinions or to mistakenly restrict accurate content,” he writes.
“While the percentage of misinformation is relatively small, we have much more work ahead on our roadmap.”
He explains that normally Facebook wouldn't share specifics about their work in progress, but given the importance of these issues and the amount of interest in this topic, he wanted to outline some of the projects they already have underway:
- Stronger detection
- Easy reporting
- Third party verification
- Related articles quality
- Disrupting fake news economics
“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.”