During the tail end of his final term, President Barack Obama spoke with Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg about the growing prevalence of so-called fake news and its effect on the political landscape. As reported by the Washington Post, Zuckerberg initially rebuffed claims of news postings with false slants and told Obama that the issue was essentially overblown.
From the Post:
For months leading up to the vote, Obama and his top aides quietly agonized over how to respond to Russia’s brazen intervention on behalf of the Donald Trump campaign without making matters worse. Weeks after Trump’s surprise victory, some of Obama’s aides looked back with regret and wished they had done more.
Now huddled in a private room on the sidelines of a meeting of world leaders in Lima, Peru, two months before Trump’s inauguration, Obama made a personal appeal to Zuckerberg to take the threat of fake news and political disinformation seriously. Unless Facebook and the government did more to address the threat, Obama warned, it would only get worse in the next presidential race.
Zuckerberg acknowledged the problem posed by fake news. But he told Obama that those messages weren’t widespread on Facebook and that there was no easy remedy, according to people briefed on the exchange, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to share details of a private conversation.
The piece goes on to share that last Thursday, Zuckerberg and his team will hand over to Congress over 3,000 political ads that may have been part of the alleged Russian hack to manipulate the election results. Critics of Facebook say that the network did not do enough to address the deluge of politically charged and incorrect assessments, thus handing the election to Trump.