Facebook might not fight "fake news" after all

The social media giant is sitting this one out.
IMAGE Esquire

Despite claims that Facebook would be taking a more active role to stamp out fake news, CEO Mark Zuckerberg published a letter last Friday saying that he would rather help users see “a more complete picture, not just alternative perspectives.” 

According to Zuckerberg in his 5,800-word manifesto, the popularity of false stories on news feeds is giving users a fragmented sense of reality, contributing to "filter bubbles" and a “loss of common understanding." Now that Facebook is climbing to 1.86 billion users, misinformation poses a dangerous threat in today's political climate.

However, the 32-year-old prefers to "show a range of perspectives, let people see where their views are on a spectrum and come to a conclusion on what they think is right.” 

“Even if we eliminated all misinformation, people would just emphasize different sets of facts to fit their polarized opinions,” Zuckerberg writes. “Over time, our community will identify which sources provide a complete range of perspectives so that content will naturally surface more.”

The Facebook founder explains that a more effective approach will be to "focus less on banning misinformation, and more on surfacing additional perspectives and information.”

It's uncertain whether the noise will stamp out misinformation over time, as Facebook has done little to sway its users against pursuing information that confirms existing biases. At the very least, however, this can make people less insistent that their perspective is the undisputed truth. 

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