Facebook Plans New Ways to Fight Fake News, Zuckerberg Says

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Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said the social network is considering efforts such as 'better technical systems to detect what people will flag as false before they do it themselves.'
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said the social network is considering efforts such as 'better technical systems to detect what people will flag as false before they do it themselves.' Credit: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg

Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg said Friday night that the company was exploring new ways to fight the spread of "misinformation" on its social platform amid criticism of its role in amplifying so-called fake news during the presidential campaign.

It is "technically and philosophically" difficult to determine what is fake and what to do about it, Mr. Zuckerberg said in a Facebook post. "We believe in giving people a voice, which means erring on the side of letting people share what they want whenever possible," he wrote.

But many observers have also attacked the prevelance of made-up headlines on Facebook, arguing that they swayed votes in the election Nov. 8 and are continuing to distort reality.

Mr. Zuckerberg said new steps might include:

- Stronger detection. The most important thing we can do is improve our ability to classify misinformation. This means better technical systems to detect what people will flag as false before they do it themselves.

- Easy reporting. Making it much easier for people to report stories as fake will help us catch more misinformation faster.

- Third party verification. There are many respected fact checking organizations and, while we have reached out to some, we plan to learn from many more.

- Warnings. We are exploring labeling stories that have been flagged as false by third parties or our community, and showing warnings when people read or share them.

- Related articles quality. We are raising the bar for stories that appear in related articles under links in News Feed.

- Disrupting fake news economics. A lot of misinformation is driven by financially motivated spam. We're looking into disrupting the economics with ads policies like the one we announced earlier this week, and better ad farm detection.

- Listening. We will continue to work with journalists and others in the news industry to get their input, in particular, to better understand their fact checking systems and learn from them.

The company earlier this week said it will stop serving ads to sites it decides are misleading or deceptive.

Others have agreed with Mr. Zuckerberg that it would be troubling for Facebook to take a stronger hand in deciding what counts as legitimate news and what should be hidden from users.

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