Fact-checkers call on Zuckerberg to address spread of fake news
A network of fact-checking websites is calling on Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to address the spread of fake news stories on his company’s platform.
In an open letter to the tech mogul published on Poynter, the International Fact Checking Network suggested that the company work to enable its users to better identify viral hoaxes.
“Numerous studies show that, regardless of partisan ideology, people are very good at accepting information that conforms to their preconceptions, even if it is false,” the letter reads.
“Facebook should strengthen users’ ability to identify fake posts and false news by themselves, as the scale of the problem is too vast for a purely top-down approach.”
The letter was signed by an international group of fact-checking sites, including the Washington Post Fact Checker and PolitiFact.
Zuckerberg was widely criticized last week after writing a Facebook post that was dismissive of arguments put forth by Hillary Clinton supporters that the spread of fake news on the social media site had helped to sway the election to Donald Trump.
“Of all the content on Facebook, more than 99% of what people see is authentic,” he wrote. “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.”
Critics were quick to point out that Zuckerberg had touted the platform’s ability to help populist movements in the wake of the Arab Spring revolutions.
In their letter Thursday, the fact-checking group said it is “eager” to help Zuckerberg implement reforms that would stem the affect of fake news articles.
“Last week you wrote that the problem of fake news and false information online is particularly complex,” the letter reads. “In your words: ‘Identifying the ‘truth’ is complicated.’ We agree. It also cannot be the exclusive responsibility of any one organization.”
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