Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg rejects claims the network swayed the US election

 
Natasha Clark
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Facebook's CEO says he wants to give people meaningful content (Source: Getty)

Mark Zuckerberg has denied claims that fake news on Facebook helped elect Donald Trump to the White House.

The chief executive of Facebook said at the Techonomy technology conference in San Francisco last night that it was a "pretty crazy idea" and that voters "make decisions based on their lived experience".

“The idea that fake news on Facebook influenced the election in any way is a pretty crazy idea," he said.

There is a profound lack of empathy in asserting that the only reason someone could have voted the way they did is because they saw fake news... If you believe that then I don't think you have internalised the message Trump supporters are trying to send in this election.

Some have claimed that Facebook's algorithms did not adequately block fake news during the election, when fake quotes and information about both candidates were shared around the world. Pressure is building on the social network to tackle misinformation and block untrue news from being circulated.

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Earlier this year Facebook moderators were also accused of being biased against the then-candidate for favouring more left-wing news in the "trending stories" box on the site.

A recent study from Pew suggested that 20 per cent of users had changed their views on a political issue because of something they saw on social media, which means Facebook could have had a major effect on how the US voted.

Already Facebook's algorithms alter the news that you see in your feed based on the content that you like, click on and watch, and shows you more of it in future.

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But Zuckerberg said 20 years ago the public got all their news from just a few TV channels and newspapers, and information today was much more diverse.

He seems to suggest that Facebook were most interested in "listening to what people want" as opposed to promoting content that was the most accurate.

“Our job, our goal is to help people see the content that’s going to be the most meaningful and interesting to them,” he said.

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