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Zuckerberg announces Facebook will purge 'fake news' after claiming it had little effect on election

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg speaks during a news conference at Facebook headquarters on July 6, 2011 in Palo Alto, California. Zuckerberg announced new features that are coming to Facebook including video chat. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Facebook co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg says it's a "crazy idea" to suggest fake news influenced the outcome of the presidential election, but the social media giant is moving forward with plans to squash said content anyway.

After saying Thursday that it's "extremely unlikely" that a "small amount" of bogus posts masquerading as "news" had an effect on the election, Zuckerberg took to his Facebook page Saturday to elaborate:

Of all the content on Facebook, more than 99% of what people see is authentic. Only a very small amount is fake news and hoaxes. The hoaxes that do exist are not limited to one partisan view, or even to politics Overall, this makes it extremely unlikely hoaxes changed the outcome of this election in one direction or the other.

But the billionaire tech tycoon went on to say that, because "we don't want any hoaxes on Facebook," the company has already begun work that will eventually allow users to "flag" hoaxes and "so-called fake news."

But, he continued, "This is an area where I believe we must proceed very carefully":

Identifying the "truth" is complicated. While some hoaxes can be completely debunked, a greater amount of content, including from mainstream sources, often gets the basic idea right but some details wrong or omitted. An even greater volume of stories express an opinion that many will disagree with and flag as incorrect even when factual.

Zuckerberg said he's "confident" Facebook can find a way to get rid of flatly false information while keeping what is "meaningful." At the same time, he acknowledged we must be extremely cautious about becoming arbiters of truth ourselves."

(H/T: Business Insider)

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