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Zuckerberg trashes idea of fake news on Facebook behind the cause of Trump winning

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After being shocked at the results of the US Presidential elections, pundits and media experts unable to find a concrete reason for their predictions started to blame Facebook yesterday for its apparent nonchalance about the rampant circulation of fake news in the social network. These fake news pieces, according to the experts swayed public opinion towards voting for Trump.

Now, in a response while speaking at the Technonomy conference, Facebook co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg rejected the accusations of a biased news feed swaying the votes in favour of Donald Trump. “Personally I think the idea that fake news on Facebook, which is a very small amount of the content, influenced the election in any way — I think is a pretty crazy idea. Voters make decisions based on their lived experience,” he said.

He let this out when the interviewer asked how important Facebook has become as a distributor of news and information. He also said that people shocked by the election’s outcome had actually underestimated the popularity the President-elect had while campaigning. He blasted the opinion of the media experts saying, “I do think there is a certain profound lack of empathy in asserting that the only reason someone could have voted the way they did is they saw some fake news.”

He also logically deconstructed the accusation saying if Trump indeed won riding on a wave of fake news, what made Hilary lose out on the momentum then? As a matter of fact, fake news circulated around both Trump and Clinton in their year-long head-to-head against each other.

He also shot down the allegations that Facebook’s filter mechanism acts like an ‘echo chamber’ where supports of Clinton only saw views and opinion of fellow Clinton supporters while the supporters of Trump saw nothing but news about Donald Trump. Zuckerberg said, “All the research we have suggests that this isn’t really a problem.” Citing a study published in Science magazine last year on 10.1 million Facebook users who are politically vocal, which found that both liberals and conservatives see about 1 per cent less from the other side than they would if they hadn’t tweaked their Facebook news feed.

But Zuckerberg did express concern about a growing practice among people. That of shutting out opinion which does not reinforce their own set of previously held beliefs. “I don’t know what to do about that,” Zuck said.

Zuckerberg admitted he is concerned about the impact Facebook is having on democracy in the US and said there are things that can still be improved in the future in the way it distributes news. “I really care about this. I want what we do to have a good impact on the world. I want people to have a diversity of information,” he said to reassure.


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