Facebook Employees Start Secret Task Force to Fight Fake News
“Democracy suffers if our news environment incentivizes bullshit."
Published on November 15, 2016

A group of Facebook employees have reportedly formed a secret, unofficial task force to tackle the problem of fake news stories being shared across their network. Following Trump's surprise election win last week, the social media company has faced criticism over the amount of fake news being shared on the site.

A recent report by BuzzFeed found that 38% of the posts by the three largest right-wing pages contained false or misleading information, as did 20% of the posts by the three largest left-wing pages. According to a recent study by the Pew Research Center, almost half of adult Americans rely on Facebook for news.

Last week, CEO Mark Zuckerberg said that the concept that fake news influenced the outcome of the election was “a pretty crazy idea.” Some of his employees disagree, however. “It’s not a crazy idea,” a member of the unofficial task force said. “What’s crazy is for him to come out and dismiss it like that, when he knows, and those of us at the company know, that fake news ran wild on our platform during the entire campaign season.”

Apparently “more than dozens” of the company's employees have met twice in the past week to discuss the issue, with the goal of brainstorming a list of recommendations to be presented to senior management. “As we’ve learned in this election, bullshit is highly engaging,” former Facebook designer Bobby Goodlatte wrote. “A bias towards truth isn’t an impossible goal. But it’s now clear that democracy suffers if our news environment incentivizes bullshit.”

Chris Moore
Chris Moore is a New York-based writer who has written for Mass Appeal while also mixing records and producing electronic music.
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