'Mark Zuckerberg knows Facebook fake news cost Hillary Clinton the election'

As much as 38 percent of posts by rightwing groups contained false or misleading information.

Facebook to launch free Internet app in US

A core group of Facebook employees has debunked CEO Mark Zuckerberg's take on fake news, the Buzzfeed News has reported.

The core group of renegade employees that meet secretly for fear of retaliation told the news portal they believe Zuckerberg knows that "fake news ran wild on our platform during the entire campaign season."

When Donald Trump shockingly defeated Hillary Clinton in the 2016 US presidential election, one of the theories that gained immediate currency was that the fake news on Clinton on the social platform contributed to her downfall.

Facebook is used by more than 150 million Americans, accounting for about half the population. Some of the headlines that were lapped up included "Hillary indictment imminent" and "Obama caught on live TV telling illegal aliens it's OK to vote."

On Thursday, when the debate over Facebook's role in the election intensified, CEO Zuckerberg rebuffed the argument saying it was a crazy idea to say the social media platform affected the election.

But the Facebook employees, whose rank and file is growing by the day say Zuckerberg knows better. "It's not a crazy idea," they say. The underground activists who want the company to introspect say it's rather crazy for Zuckerberg to come out and dismiss it as a crazy idea.

As much as 38 percent of posts made by three prominent rightwing political groups on the social networking platform contained "false or misleading information," BuzzFeed had said in an earlier analysis.

Former Facebook designer Bobby Goodlatte wrote in Facebook after the election: "Sadly, News Feed optimizes for engagement. As we've learned in this election, bullshit is highly engaging. A bias towards truth isn't an impossible goal. Wikipedia, for instance, still bends towards the truth despite a massive audience. But it's now clear that democracy suffers if our news environment incentivizes bullshit."

Embattled Zuckerberg repeated on Saturday it was "extremely unlikely" news hoaxes changed the outcome of the election. "Of all the content on Facebook, more than 99 percent of what people see is authentic," he said.

"After the election, many people are asking whether fake news contributed to the result, and what our responsibility is to prevent fake news from spreading ... These are very important questions and I care deeply about getting them right," Zuckerberg said.

Related topics : Mark zuckerberg