During a speech this week at Menlo Park, California’s Rosewood Sand Hill hotel, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced to an audience of high-ranking media executives that his company’s platform has begun ranking news organizations and their pages based on “trustworthiness,” in what appears to be the social media-giant’s next foray into combating so-called “fake news.”
While the Facebook co-founder stopped short of clarifying exactly which variables and metrics will be used to constitute a news outlet’s trustworthiness, he did roughly outline the process being employed.
“We put [that data] into the system, and it is acting as a boost or a suppression, and we’re going to dial up the intensity of that over time,” Zuckerberg said, adding that “We feel like we have a responsibility to further [break] down polarization and find common ground.”
Before an audience of media executives, including representatives from Buzz Feed News, Quartz, the New York Times, CNN, The Wall Street Journal, The Information, NBC, Recode, Barron’s, The Daily Beast, The Economist, The Huffington Post, Insider, The Atlantic, The New York Post and many more, Zuckerberg went on to assert that Facebook is investing “billions of dollars” into a combination of artificial intelligence (AI), as well as “tens of thousands of human moderators,” as part of the firm’s more diligent effort to keep “fake news and deliberate propaganda” at bay, particularly during election periods, Breitbart News reports.
“We’re essentially going to be losing money on doing political ads,” Zuckerberg said, though he acknowledged that “The big miss is we didn’t expect these kind of coordinated information operations.”
Zuckerberg’s comments were delivered during this week’s annual Facebook F8 developers conference, and represent a clear attempt to discourage news outlets from either directly or indirectly engaging in the publication of fake or misleading news.
They also come just a few weeks after his high-profile appearance before members of the Senate Judiciary Committee last month, during which the Facebook CEO was grilled by Senators about his knowledge of the highly-publicized Cambridge Analytics data scandal, and about his company’s apparent suppression of certain media outlets with more conservative-leaning narratives.