Facebook employees have formed an unofficial task force to battle fake news that allegedly aided Donald Trump in his victory in the U.S. presidential election last week, according to Buzzfeed. This unofficial task force comes in the aftermath of rising national debate over the fake and misleading news articles that were read by approximately 150 million Americans.
Employees disapprove of Zuckerberg’s statement
In a way, the unofficial team has disapproved of the statement made by CEO Mark Zuckerberg at a conference last week when he said that it was “a pretty crazy idea” that Facebook affected the election, according to BuzzFeed.
One Facebook employee reacted to this statement saying, “It’s not a crazy idea. What’s crazy is for him to come out and dismiss it like that, when he knows, and those of us at the company know, that fake news ran wild on our platform during the entire campaign season.”
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Another four employees on the team said they will give any information to the press only on the condition of anonymity.
According to a recent study by the Pew Research Center, half of adult Americans depend on Facebook as a source of news. BuzzFeed reported that three major left-wing pages published incorrect and misleading news in about 20% of their posts, and right-wing pages posted such information 38% of the time. The report stated that the best way to gain audience for political content on the world’s largest social network is to shun factual reporting and play to partisan biases by circulating false or misleading information that only tells what people want to hear.
This may cost them their jobs at Facebook
All five employees said they had been warned by their superiors that speaking to media and revealing information might cost them their jobs, notes BuzzFeed. The group did not share much detail on the task force, but one employee opened up saying there are dozens of employees involved, and they have held the meeting two times in the last week. These employees are meeting in secret to make sure that every member can speak up freely and without fear of condemnation from senior management.
Despite all the fears, the secret task force is looking to collect enough evidence to show to senior management at Facebook. One of the members said that the team is small, but there are “hundreds” of employees within the company who have voiced their concern through secret emails about the fake news published during the election.