Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg: Fake news creates polarization in beliefs

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg on Thursday released a 5,700-word statement in which he expressed opposition to rising isolationism and urged communities to accept globalization for a more harmonious global environment. Photo courtesy of Mark Zuckerberg

Feb. 17 (UPI) — Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg issued a 5,700-word statement lamenting the rise of isolationism and saying fake news creates polarization in beliefs.

In the Building Global Community statement, Zuckerberg said Facebook was launched in 2014 to support a more connected global community.

“Facebook stands for bringing us closer together and building a global community. When we began, this idea was not controversial. Yet now, across the world there are people left behind by globalization, and movements for withdrawing from global connection,” Zuckerberg wrote. “There are questions about whether we can make a global community that works for everyone, and whether the path ahead is to connect more or reverse course.”

Zuckerberg urged for the world to become more accepting and connected to the idea of globalization.

“Progress now requires humanity coming together not just as cities or nations, but also as a global community,” Zuckerberg wrote.

Zuckerberg also wrote about the spread of information on Facebook, such as that of “fake news” and sensational, misleading articles. He said such misinformation increases polarization between beliefs.

Facebook and other social media sources have been accused of not doing enough to combat fake news, which some critics say influenced the U.S. presidential election.

“If this continues and we lose common understanding then even if we eliminated all misinformation, people would just emphasize different sets of facts to fit their polarized opinions. That’s why I’m so worried about sensationalism in media,” Zuckerberg wrote. “Facebook is a work in progress, and we are dedicated to learning and improving … We take our responsibility seriously, and today I want to talk about how we plan to do our part to build this global community.”

Initially, Zuckerberg said the idea of Facebook influencing the election was “pretty crazy.” Since, Zuckerberg has attempted to stem the flow of fake news by fine-tuning Facebook’s algorithm.

Zuckerberg, however, did not suggest taking a hard-line approach to combat fake news.

“Our approach will focus less on banning misinformation, and more on surfacing additional perspectives and information, including that fact checkers dispute an item’s accuracy,” Zuckerberg wrote.


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