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Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg Lays Out Plan to Combat Fake News

Critics charge fake political stories on Facebook may have tipped the scales in Republican nominee Donald Trump's favor.
Image: Facebook
Mark Zuckerberg.PETER DaSILVA / EPA, file

Following sharp criticism that fake news spreading on Facebook affected the 2016 presidential election, CEO Mark Zuckerberg has laid out a plan to combat the problematic issue.

The Facebook CEO outlined his plan to curb the spread of misinformation soon after landing Friday in Lima, Peru, where he was speaking about poverty at the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit.

In his post, he insisted that the percentage of misinformation is "relatively small" but that "we have much more work ahead on our roadmap." Critics charge the fake political stories about Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton may have tipped the scales in Republican nominee Donald Trump's favor with voters.

Zuckerberg's proposed plan includes: improving Facebook technical ability to detect misinformation, making it easier for users to report stories as untrue, working with fact checking organizations to create third-party verification and labeling stories that other users have flagged as false.

Zuckerberg said the company also wants to raise the bar for stories that appear in the news feed, and revising their ad policies to disrupt fake news economics.

Related: Facebook, Google Crack Down on Fake News Advertising

He called it a complex issue — both technically and philosophically.

"We believe in giving people a voice, which means erring on the side of letting people share what they want whenever possible," he wrote. "We need to be careful not to discourage sharing of opinions or to mistakenly restrict accurate content."

In a news conference Thursday in Berlin, Obama called bogus stories disseminated on Facebook and other social media platforms a threat to democracy.

The president decried "an age where there's so much active misinformation and it's packaged very well and it looks the same when you see it on a Facebook page or you turn on your television."

Related: What Does Zuckerberg Say About Claims Facebook Influenced the Election?

Although Zuckerberg strongly denied that the social media website influenced the election, he acknowledged that the company could do more against false information.

"The bottom line is: we take misinformation seriously," the CEO posted on his Facebook profile. "Our goal is to connect people with the stories they find most meaningful, and we know people want accurate information," he said.