Facebook’s Fake News Problem

Recently, Facebook has been having trouble with fake news stories that have been appearing on their website, and app founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg is laying out plans to keep phony news off of Facebook feeds. He has even taken time off from an international conference to address the growing debate over fake news. According to Jericka Duncan, a CBS News reporter, questionable decisions Facebook made months ago might have made the problem worse. Nicola Mendelsohn, a Facebook employee, said, “The amount of news that is on our site, that is, as you would call it, fake news, is very small, but we’re not satisfied with that.”

Due to this fake newsfeed on Facebook, Zuckerberg outlined several ways that they can minimize the amount of unreliable news being expressed on the site. These include: stronger detection measures, easy reporting of fake stories by users, third party verification by fact-checking organizations, and flagging false stories by third parties or the Facebook community.

Adam Schrader was contracted to work for Facebook’s “trending topics” division in May. He said he was laid off four months later and the division was eliminated. He said Zuckerberg himself maybe was not responsible for seeing this impending problem, “but leaders within the company should’ve been paying more attention to what was, you know, showing up in people’s news feeds for sure.” He said his division could have helped minimize the amount of fake news. “By stopping fake news from trending, you’re likely to stop fake news from spreading further and I think one of the biggest principles of journalism is making sure people have truthful, accurate and fair news,” Schrader said. When asked how much personal responsibility Facebook users should bear in making sure the news they read or share is accurate, Schrader said it’s unrealistic for everyone to fact-check all the news on their feeds, so it’s up to Facebook to step in and fix the problem.