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Mark Zuckerberg Says Fake Facebook News Had No Impact on Election

Photo: AP
Photo: AP

On Thursday, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg disputed the suggestion that hoax news stories circulating on the social network affected the outcome of this year’s election, characterizing claims otherwise as “pretty out there.”

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“I think the idea that fake news on Facebook—of which it’s a very small amount of the content—influenced the election in any way is a pretty crazy idea,” said Zuckerberg onstage at the Techonomy business conference.

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Recently, multiple writers have faulted Facebook for spreading misinformation during the election, suggesting it played a role in Donald Trump’s victory. According to Zuckerberg, however, these claims reveal a “profound lack of empathy” for Trump supporters.

“I think there is a certain profound lack of empathy in asserting that the only reason why someone could have voted the way they did is because they saw some fake news,” said Zuckerberg, adding that hoax stories “surely” had no impact because “why would you think there’d be fake news on one side but not on the other?”

Asked more generally about Trump’s win, Zuckerberg echoed a sentiment he expressed Wednesday night about long-term progress being bigger than any one election. Among other issues, Zuckerberg insisted that education, disease treatment and virtual reality will “keep on pushing forward” in the long run. He did not say, however, if these advancements in VR would be aided by Oculus founder Palmer Luckey, who still has not been seen.

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DISCUSSION

alvingreenedream
The Alvin Greene Dream

People in the media looking for scapegoats need to be dismissed. They are driven entirely by a self-preservation instinct. If the establishment fails, it falls, and the careers of these hacks will follow suit. So what have they done? Concocted shoddy arguments about Gary Johnson spoiling the race (ignoring, of course, the fact that he took almost solely from Trump, not Hillary), and about a “Facebook Effect,” by which we’re meant to believe that fake robo-content articles about the Pope endorsing Trump swayed the election’s outcome.

Give it a fucking rest already. Trump underperformed both McCain in 2008 and Romney in 2012. Wanna know who underperformed even worse? Hillary Clinton. Here’s what that looks like:

Now tell me that this is primarily about bigotry.

The fact is that, if we navel-gaze in our post-game analysis, Trump will fucking win re-election in 2020. There is no question about that. We must read what happened correctly, and fucking fix it. That means not creating fantasies from whole cloth just to turn Hillary Clinton—who ran a shit campaign, and was a shit candidate—into a stainless martyr.