Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said during a talk on Monday evening that accusations Facebook likes “fake news” and wants that kind of content on its platform are “crap.”
The tech billionaire made his comments at a town hall-style Q&A event at North Carolina A&T State University. The talk was broadcast on Zuckerberg’s Facebook page.
“There have been some accusations that say that we actually want this kind of content on our service because its more content and people click on it, but that’s crap,” Zuckerberg said. “No-one in our community wants fake information.”
Facebook has been criticised for allowing news stories based on little or no facts to flourish on its platform, which is used by billions of people worldwide.
“There are a bunch of things we can do to disrupt the economics and make it so that the content can’t get shared but this is a big issue,” said Zuckerberg.
“We are also victims of this and we do not want it on our service,” he added. “We don’t want any of it.”
Zuckerberg highlighted that Facebook isn’t the only company dealing with fake news.
“It affects a lot of news sources,” he said. “We have a responsibility to help fight against it and we’re doing that by fighting against hoaxes the same way we fight against spam and by enabling people to flag stuff that might be incorrect so that third party validators can check it.”
He added that Facebook doesn’t “want to be in the business of deciding if what people say is true or not.”
Further highlighting the issue of fake news, Zuckerberg said: “It’s not always clear what is fake and what isn’t. A lot of what people are calling fake news are just opinions that people disagree with.”
He stressed that an important part of democracy is allowing people to share things that not everyone will agree with.
Describing why fake news exists, Zuckerberg said: “A lot of people try to spread misinformation for financial gain. They basically make up some crazy stuff — Johnny Depp just died of a heart attack, something like that — in order to get people to click on it. You click on it and they take you to a webpage that has all these ads, so they can make money from these ads.”
Zuckerberg’s comments were made as part of a tour that will see him visit every US state this year in a bid to connect with more US citizens.
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