Did fake news on Facebook influence the election?
Not so fast, said the social giant's CEO, Mark Zuckerberg. Sure, its News Feed isn't perfect, but Zuckerberg said it would be "pretty crazy" to think fake news articles had swayed voters.
Zuckerberg was responding in part to President Obama's comments earlier this week on the "dust cloud of nonsense" on Facebook. While campaigning for Hillary Clinton on Monday, Obama said that "as long as it's on Facebook and people can see it, as long as its on social media, people start believing it."
“Personally, I think the idea that fake news on Facebook, of which it’s a very small amount of the content, influenced the election in any way is a pretty crazy idea,” Zuckerberg said at the Techonomy16 conference in California on Thursday.
Zuckerberg said he believes such claims show a "lack of empathy" for Trump supporters "in asserting that the only reason someone could have voted the way they did is they saw some fake news."
"If you believe that, then I don’t think you have internalized the message the Trump supporters are trying to send in this election," he said.
Adam Mosseri, vice president of News Feed product management, told NBC News in a statement that Facebook uses "various signals based on community feedback to determine which posts are likely to contain inaccurate information," and then reduces their distribution.
Similarly, when it comes to choosing which headlines populate the trending widget, Mosseri said Facebook relies on certain signals that help make sure the topics being shown "are reflective of real-world events" and can "take additional steps to prevent false or misleading content from appearing."
“Despite these efforts we understand there's so much more we need to do, and that is why it's important that we keep improving our ability to detect misinformation," he said. "We're committed to continuing to work on this issue and improve the experiences on our platform.”