Mark Zuckerberg is at last detailing a plan for Facebook to fix its fake news problem.
Following a week of criticism in which even President Obama weighed in on the dangers of fake news spread through social media, Facebook’s CEO shared a lengthy, but carefully worded, post on his platform laying out a series of steps the social network is taking to combat misinformation in News Feed.
Zuckerberg had previously rebuffed News Feed criticism, saying the idea that Facebook could have influenced the election was “pretty crazy.”
Striking a much more conciliatory tone on Friday, Zuckerberg outlined the measures the company is enacting and echoed previous comments he made about not wanting to become “arbiters of truth ourselves.” Among the steps the company is taking are better detection and reporting tools, warning labels, better suggested articles, new ad policies, third-party verification and working more closely with journalists and media organizations.
Noting that the problem of misinformation and fake news is “technically and philosophically” complex, Zuckerberg said detection is the most important area to address. In that vein, Facebook is working on “better technical systems to detect what people will flag as false before they do it themselves,” he wrote.
The company is also working on new reporting tools that will make it easier for users to report fake news when they see it, which will also help improve Facebook’s ability to reliably recognize misinformation.
He also said the social network is experimenting with more prominent warning labels that will make it clearer to people when they come across misinformation. “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,” Zuckerberg wrote.
Elsewhere in News Feed, Facebook is planning on “raising the bar” for what types of articles can appear in the “related articles” module, which appears after you click on a link in your feed.
Noting that many of the perpetrators of fake news and Facebook are driven by the promise of ad dollars, Zuckerberg highlighted the company’s announcement this week that it would ban fake news sites from its ad network and added that it’s looking into other ways of “disrupting the economics with ad policies.”
He said the company is working with “respected fact checking organizations” and journalists and media organizations “to better understand their fact checking systems and learn from them.”
Zuckerberg emphasized that these efforts may not be entirely effective but that Facebook is “committed to getting this right.”