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Obama condemns Facebook Fake News Allowed by Mark Zuckerberg

President Barack Obama recently criticized Facebook for allowing fake news to run on its system.  These fake news are seemingly allowed by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to continue to proliferate despite tools already available to stop it.  Obamas condemnation during a news conference last Thursday in Berlin is a call to attention that people around the world is being fed false information.

Removing Fake News is Bad for Facebook?

Despite research showing that most of the time fake news outperforms real news in terms of shares and likes, Zuckerberg still insists the other way around.  “Ninety-nine percent of what people see is authentic,” Zuckerberg said in his 560-word post last November 13.  The Facebook CEO also denied the allegations that "Facebook could have unduly affected millions of American voters."

One of the best example of fake news proliferation according to Forbes Magazine is the story about the Pope endorsing Donald Trump.  The obviously fake news garnered more than one million shares before it was seen as a hoax.  Other legitimate news including the issue on Trump's tax return barely made it past 200,000 shares.

According to the same article from Forbes Magazine,  “There is a lot more we could be doing, using tools already built and in use across Facebook to stop other offensive or harmful content,”  This statement came from a Facebook employee who has been a long time engineer.

Fake news in the Philippines

If you are active in social media, you would easily see fake news in Facebook.  There is one story about former President Noynoy Aquino's dog being buried at the Libingan Ng Mga Bayani.  This story was used as a campaign favoring the burial of Marcos, however this news is fake and is a hoax since animals cannot be buried there.

Fake news are seen as a way to gain hits and views.  Perhaps this can be attributed to the surprise in the news which people are keen to share before reading them.  I would not say it directly but I would like to think that fake news also form part of strategy in politics nowadays and some people are just to easy a prey to fall for them.

What should Facebook do with Fake News?

Facebook is fearful that removing fake news or limiting them will have a backlash on their social media.  The company is relying on million of ad revenues coming from its Newsfeed and with more things being shared means more income for them.

However, these fake news is harming everyone.  When most people are reading things from social media Facebook should ensure that news being shared in its platform are truthful.  If things like this continue to proliferate them people's decision will be affected.  Facebook should do the right thing.

How about you, what do you think about fake news?

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