Following Donald Trump's appointment as President-elect, Facebook came under fire for its influence on the results. But just how involved was the social media giant?
Criticism of the company has been growing over the past several days due to its lax efforts to control the fake news shared on its platform. Facebook, on the contrary, has stated that only 1 percent of news is fake on its site.
Now, we are learning Facebook had a possible fix to correct the fake news problem earlier in the year, but opted not to implement it because it was primarily going to target conservative news.
"They absolutely have the tools to shut down fakes news," said a source to Gizmodo. The report also says Facebook had an internal debate about using the fix back as far back as May.
High-ranking officials at Facebook met to discuss a way to even out the news content that was shared across the site with an intent of appearing neutral to both parties. Their search revealed the fix would greatly admonish news from conservative sites and declined to use it.
We don't know to what degree the fix was going to work in filtering out fake news, or how effective it was going to be, but these allegations against Facebook are quite damning. Companies like Facebook and Google, which also got in hot water due to its own problems with fake news, have a responsibility to deliver accurate and trustworthy information.
The top news that spread on Facebook focused on the positive towards the Republican nominee, now President-elect, Donald Trump, such as "Pope Francis Shocks World, elects Donald Trump for President," which he did not, and towards the negative when pertaining to the Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, like "FBI Agent Suspected in Hillary Email Leaks Found Dead in Apparent Murder-Suicide," which is completely false. Both news stories were widely disseminated across Facebook.
The influence of social media has never been more important
With over 1.79 billion active users, the power and influence of Facebook has never been stronger or more important. Each user may believe in differing opinions, whether it'd be political or any other factor, but Facebook still has a responsibility to eliminate falsehoods, and if for some reason the company purposefully did not, it is a dangerous precedent to set.