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Facebook to fact-check and adapt standards

Mark Zuckerberg Photo: Jason McELweenie, WikiMedia Commons


Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg has signalled a change in the company’s approach to moderation and misinformation as part of a general reorientation of the platform.

In a long text updating his 2012 founding statement, Zuckerberg emphasised the positive role Facebook could play in building a global community and described the platform as “a work in progress”, with the company “close to taking our next step”.

Zuckerberg specifically referred to the controversy around Facebook’s removal of the napalm attack photo ‘Terror of War’, as well as Black Lives Matter and other graphic content, and said that “the complexity of issues” over the last year had “outstripped our existing processes for governing the community”.

“[O]ur community is evolving from its origin connecting us with family and friends to now becoming a source of news and public discourse as well. With this cultural shift, our Community Standards must adapt to permit more newsworthy and historical content, even if some is objectionable,” the statement said.

Mistakes in moderation almost always occurred due to “operational scaling issues” rather than ideological positions, according to the statement, which raised the possibility of giving users the capacity to set their own content policy.

On “fake news”, Zuckerberg flagged the introduction of fact-checking and a broadening of news feed content.

“Our approach will focus less on banning misinformation, and more on surfacing additional perspectives and information, including that fact checkers dispute an item's accuracy.”

The statement also acknowledged the impact Facebook has had on commercial news outlets.

“There is more we must do to support the news industry to make sure this vital social function is sustainable - from growing local news, to developing formats best suited to mobile devices, to improving the range of business models news organizations rely on,” it said.

However, there was little in the way of specific detail on many of the proposed changes.

Read Zuckerberg's statement: https://www.facebook.com/notes/mark-zuckerberg/building-global-community/10154544292806634

Read more at The Atlantic: https://www.theatlantic.com/liveblogs/2017/02/news-today/516942/14694/

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