For a brief time Tuesday, Facebook
took down two prominent posts addressing the problem of fake news proliferation on the platform — and members of the media quickly noticed.
According to CNN, the social media giant quickly restored these posts and eight other entries, all from co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg, after media outlets had tipped them off to the glitch. The company said the posts were “removed by mistake.”
Since the U.S. presidential election wrapped up, Facebook has come under fire for allegedly allowing fake news items and sites to fester on its platform. More broadly, discussions about how it has still yet to come to terms with its role in the media, as well as how its very existence might have affected the election’s outcome, have abounded both before and after Nov. 8.
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Zuckerberg has addressed concerns about the spread of misinformation in a few separate occasions. After first calling the idea that Facebook could swing an election “a crazy idea,” he went on the defensive in a note published Nov. 12, maintaining that “more than 99% of what people see [on Facebook] is authentic.”
Later, in a separate post on Nov. 19, he wrote that “we take misinformation seriously,” outlining some of the measures Facebook intends to take to combat the propagation of false information.
Facebook spokesperson Jay Nancarrow told CNN that the removal “was caused by an error in one of our systems and the posts have now been restored.” He added that Zuckerberg’s account had not been breached for that duration, and that “he stands behind the words in his posts.”
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Zuckerberg maintained that it was “extremely unlikely” that Facebook had given Donald Trump the keys to the White House, as he wrote in his Nov. 12 note. At the same time, the platform is expected to introduce measures like third-party fact-checking and enhanced detection of falsehoods in content on the platform — all without describing itself as a media company.