After the presidential elections last November, Former President Barack Obama reportedly warned Mark Zuckerberg to take fake news more seriously.
Zuckerberg dismissed the impact of “fake news” on the social media platform during and after the election, but Obama at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Peru in November told him if he didn’t crack down on fake news it would only get worse in the next election.
In early September, the company said it sold about $100,000 in political ads to Russian-linked sources over the past two years, information it shared with authorities investigating Russian influence on the 2016 presidential election. The ad sales were linked to a Russian “troll” farm known for spreading propaganda, and were, “connected to 470 inauthentic accounts and Pages in violation of our policies,” Facebook said.
Fake news engagement on Facebook skyrocketed as the election got closer, according to a BuzzFeed report last year, with one of the biggest a story claiming Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton sold weapons to ISIS. Facebook however, stressed that it’s taking the claims seriously.
“We believe in the power of democracy, which is why we’re taking this work on elections integrity so seriously, and have come forward at every opportunity to share what we’ve found,” said Elliot Schrage, vice president for public policy and communications.