Facebook finally admits it was wrong over fake news epidemic

Facebook, slowly but surely, seems to be coming to the realisation it needs to do more to halt the spread of fake news across the site.

After CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s initial dismissive comments about the amount of false information disseminated through the social network, the company’s stance seems to be softening somewhat.

Now, for the first time, the firm has admitted wrongdoing. Speaking at a panel on media and the US election, Facebook VP of global communication, Elliot Schrage said the company had been incorrect to resist intervention.

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As reported by Vox (via Business Insider), he said: “For so long, we had resisted having standards about whether something’s newsworthy because we did not consider ourselves a service that was predominantly for the distribution of news. And that was wrong.

Facebook has received criticism for enabling fake news stories to spread and has even been blamed for Donald Trump’s ascent to the presidency in some quarters.

Last month Zuckerberg issued a statement calling it a “pretty crazy idea.” He also said fake news on Facebook was a “very small amount of content.”

However, since then, Zuckerberg has explained how Facebook hopes to combat the phenomena without taking on too great of an editorial role.

On Friday, Schrage added: “It is not clear to me that with 1.8 billion people around the world, lots of different users and lots of different languages, the smart strategy is to start hiring editors. That’s just not what we do.”

“We have a responsibility here. I think we recognize that. This has been a learning [experience] for us.”

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