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CEO Mark Zuckerberg Facebook Did Not Impact US Election

By Monica U Santos , Nov 16, 2016 05:48 AM EST
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Facebook's chief executive Mark Zuckerberg has rejected claims the social network affected the US presidential election. He said that it is "extremely unlikely" news hoaxes changed the outcome. The CEO vehemently defended the network against such criticism at a news conference on Thursday and then echoed the same stance in a post late on Saturday, though he said the company would do more to prevent fake news.

According to SBS, trapped in a series of content debates in recent months, Facebook is insisting it is a technology company, not a media firm. But scrutiny of the site has heightened since the surprise election of Republican Donald Trump, with critics alleging the site helped spread lies via fake news stories and hoaxes.

Zuckerberg vehemently supported the network against such judgment at a news conference on Thursday and then echoed the same stance in a post late on Saturday, though he said the company would do more to prevent fake news. Such hoaxes represent a sliver of content shared on Facebook and because they are not limited to partisan views or politics, it is unlikely they could have changed the election's outcome.

"Of all the content on Facebook, more than 99 percent of what people see is authentic," he said, noting the network's goal is to "give every person a voice."

However, Zuckerberg also announced that Facebook will continue refining tools that allow users to flag hoaxes and fake news. The function, which takes hoax reports into account in the site's content algorithm, was first introduced in January of last year. But it has seemed to have little effect, and Zuckerberg admits that "there is more we can do here."

As reported by Chris Prentice of Reuters, ahead of the November 8 election, Facebook users saw fake news reports erroneously alleging that Pope Francis endorsed Donald Trump and that a federal agent who had been investigating Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton was found dead.

"After the election, many people are asking whether fake news contributed to the result, and what our responsibility is to prevent fake news from spreading," Zuckerberg said on Saturday. "These are very important questions and I care deeply about getting them right."

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