Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg dismissed the notion that fake news stories posted on the social media site helped sway the election in Donald Trump’s favor. Many have theorized that Facebook had allowed users to post “hyperpartisan misinformation” or untrue stories, which could have influenced voters for or against the presidential candidates.
Some of the stories varied from simple – the debunked Donald Trump quote that Amy Schumer fell for – to the ludicrous, such as Hillary Clinton being responsible for Antonin Scalia’s death. Now, a chain mail-type story being passed around is nothing new, but some stories leaned towards more of the conspiracy side. Illuminati and Beyonce, anyone? But Zuckerberg said it’s a “crazy idea” to think that Facebook could have changed an election outcome:
“Voters make decisions based on their lived experience. I think there is a certain profound lack of empathy in asserting that the only reason why someone could have voted the way they did is because they saw some fake news.”
Some of these hoax stories permeated through to the election, with countless untrue stories about the candidates being shared by Facebook users. The social media site did address some weeding out with sharing of these stories, but Zuckerberg suggested they aren’t doing anything about them because they’re not being shared all that often:
“Even if 90 percent of your friends are Democrats, probably 10 percent are Republicans. Even if you live in some state or country, you will know some people in another state, another country…It’s not that the diverse information isn’t there … but we haven’t got people to engage with it in higher proportions.”
Facebook has been susceptible to a few hoax-related stories in the past. These included rumors of the site charging fees, Zuckerberg giving millions to users, and the disappointing promise of an “unlike” button. It may be awhile before Zuckerberg and company can or will dissuade such stories from popping up.