Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg, and potentially other stakeholders at the company, reportedly denied proposals from shareholders Thursday that would make the company more aggressive in battling false news on the platform.
Investors during the company’s annual shareholders meeting criticized Zuckerberg and his company’s ostensible unwillingness to more heavy-handedly deal with misleading or fraudulent content thus far.
“Fake news and lies is (sic) about to destroy us,” Rev. Jesse Jackson said, according to CNET.
Two investor groups requested that Facebook issue a comprehensive report on how they will further manage to deal with the matter.
“Fabricated news stories cause a great deal of confusion about basic facts and events,” said Natasha Lamb, a managing partner at Arjuna Capital, reports Business Insider. “Facebook is at risk if it maintains a platform of distortion.”
Zuckerberg agreed in some part, saying in a prepared statement during the formal assembly that he absolutely is concerned about false information on the platform.
“Making sure people have access to good information is a really important part of what we care about,” Zuckerberg expressed, according to CNET. “A lot of the folks that spread hoaxes and false news aren’t actually doing it for an ideological reason. They’re doing it because they’re basically spammers who are trying to make money.”
Facebook declined five total proposals, according to The Washington Post. Some, though, did not deal with the topic of fake news.
Attendees also harshly criticized the pervasiveness of users broadcasting horrible crimes and suicides, which Zuckerberg has also vowed to help prevent. (RELATED: ‘I Hope This Isn’t A Trend’: Alabama Man Commits Suicide On Facebook Live)
Facebook rejected all five of the suggested policies. Zuckerberg, who controls more than 50 percent of Facebook’s shareholder votes, perhaps feels that the company is doing enough to help fight the purported problem of “fake news.”
Maintaining a balance between free speech and cleansing the platform of certain content is a hard-pressed task, as the company simultaneously receives condemnation for censorship and a lack of censorship, respectively. (RELATED: Cancer Awareness Group Draws Square Breasts For Video After Facebook Censors It)
The tech wunderkind has been pressured to help decipher and purge news stories that are unsubstantiated for months, especially since the 2016 presidential election concluded.
Former President Barack Obama and other prominent liberals have directly urged Zuckerberg and the social media site to do something about the professed pervasiveness of false news. But automatically identifying a post as legitimate or fraudulent may be a difficult task for Facebook, since subjectivity seems to be liable to even the most seemingly scientific processes.
Yet, Facebook has taken steps it feels will help curb both groupthink and possible misleading news.
Former CNN anchor Campbell Brown, who has a strong distaste for President Donald Trump, announced in January that Facebook hired her to lead its news partnerships team. (RELATED: Facebook Hires New York Times Veteran For Fake News Battle)
Facebook declared in May that it’s changing its trending news section to show users a diversity of publications, around a year after the social media company was criticized for liberal bias. This wasn’t the only change to the news feed — the social media company said in January that it was going to incorporate signals to better rank and label what it deems “authentic content.” Also, it announced in April that it was offering tips in a special section at the top of the news feed to help readers spot “fake news,” including investigating the source and studying the web-based formatting.
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