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Mark Zuckerberg Doesn’t Think Fake News on Facebook Influenced the Election

When faced with the idea that false news shared on Facebook could have influenced the election, Mark Zuckerberg said there’s no way. Many users of the social media site feel that the false pro-Trump articles they saw so often being shared on the site may have impacted decision-making on election day. To this claim, Zuckerberg responded, “I think the idea of fake news on Facebook—of which it’s a very small amount of the content—influenced the election in any way is a pretty crazy idea,” BuzzFeed News reports.

You might expect fake news to spread on a site like Facebook, but what’s bad is that Facebook’s algorithm has led the site to repeatedly share these types of stories in their Trending section—because an algorithm can’t figure out that a story is fake (Facebook recently fired the humans who used to moderate the Trending section). Most of this news is posted by extreme right-wing or left-wing political pages, and after analyzing some of these websites, BuzzFeed found that the least accurate stories were the ones that got the most likes, shares and comments. Not great.

Zuckerberg responded to this issue on Thursday, just two days after election day. While on stage at Techonomy, he said a large part of the reason he’s being blamed for the fake stories is that people are looking for any reason they can find for how Donald Trump could have won. He reminded people that there have always been hoaxes posted on the internet, and Facebook tries its hardest to give users a way to report fake stories and keep the content on the social network meaningful. Facebook spokespeople told BuzzFeed that their website is only one of several ways for voters to receive information that can impact their final choice in the voting booth. The fake stories posted and promoted are only a small part of what people would have seen on the site leading up to the election.

Cara Milhaven is a sophomore studying communication at Villanova University. She is a contributing writer for Her Campus National as well as the Senior Editor of Her Campus Villanova. She loves caffeine, Christmas movies, fall, and Zac Efron.