Tech

Facebook Has Finally Admitted That Facebook Might Be Bad For Democracy

*Russians chuckle sinisterly*
IMAGE Alessio Jacona
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A man with political aspirations of his own (future mayor of Nerd Town?) Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook are beginning to accept that the world's biggest social media platform could be hindering democracy more than helping it.

According to a recent study, 44 percent of the U.S. adult population get their news from Facebook, a number that is only rising with each passing year, which means that the "Fake News" train is only just leaving the station, and Facebook might struggle to slow it down.

*Deep inside a bunker in outer Siberia, a grey-eyed Russian laughs in Cyrillic*

In a new message posted on the social media network's blog, Facebook's Civic Engagement Product Manager Samidh Chakrabarti admits that FB was too slow in recognising illegitimate sources of news.

"Facebook was originally designed to connect friends and family – and it has excelled at that. But as unprecedented numbers of people channel their political energy through this medium, it's being used in unforeseen ways with social repercussions that were never anticipated."

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Chakrabarti adds: "In 2016, we at Facebook were far too slow to recognize how bad actors were abusing our platform. We're working diligently to neutralize these risks now."

This represents a shift in tone from the week of the 2016 election, when future mayor of Nerd Town Zuckerberg told NPR that it's a "pretty crazy idea" that fake news could have influenced the poll.

"There's a profound lack of empathy in asserting that the only reason why someone could have voted the way that they did is because they saw some fake news," Zuckerberg said in November 2016,

To his—sort of—credit, Zuckerberg later admitted his mistake.

Finally, despite the company's loud rhetoric about fixing the fake news problem, Facebook has admitted that it won't bring in any third party experts to objectively change things, with VP Elliot Schrage telling Axios that turning things over to any third party simply "Invites criticism who that body of experts is."

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So, nothing's really changed then?

How surprising.

This story originally appeared on Esquire.co.uk.

* Minor edits have been made by the Esquiremag.ph editors.

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