San Francisco, Nov 15: Hit by charges that the social media giant distributed fake news which helped Donald Trump win the US presidential election, Facebook on Tuesday denied any such charges. According to TechCrunch, Facebook “did not build and withhold any News Feed changes based on their potential impact on any one political party”. “It developed two versions of a fix for clickbait this year, and decided to trust algorithmic machine learning detection instead of only user behaviour,” the report said, quoting a Facebook spokesperson.
Media reports said earlier that Facebook shelved a planned update earlier this year that could have identified fake news. TechCrunch now reports that in January 2015, Facebook rolled out an update designed to combat hoax news stories. In August, Facebook released another News Feed update designed to reduce clickbait stories. “Of all the content on Facebook, more than 99 per cent of what people see is authentic. Only a very small amount is fake news and hoaxes. The hoaxes that do exist are not limited to one partisan view, or even to politics,” Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg had said earlier.
According to Facebook, “We always work to make News Feed more meaningful and informative, and that includes examining the quality and accuracy of items shared, such as clickbait, spam and hoaxes”. According to Trump, Facebook and Twitter helped him secure victory. Speaking on CBS’ 60 Minutes programme last weekend, he said: “The fact that I have such power in terms of numbers with Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. I think it helped me win all of these races where they’re spending much more money than I spent. I think that social media has more power than the money they spent.” Trump specified that he has more than 28 million followers across various social media platforms, and said that he was getting more each day.