Google CEO Sundar Pichai joined in the storm created over the circulation of fake news on Facebook. This happens the backdrop of the post-mortem of the U.S. election. The focus is on the part with by the media and reporting news in the result. Pichai joins the fake news controversy and took on the menace of “fake news” circulating in social media circles as he revealed in an interview with BBC Tuesday.
The initial response
Pichai was hesitant at first and reluctant to divulge his opinion. He said “I am not really sure” when asked whether fake news indeed affected the outcome of the election.
When pushed Pichai joins the fake news controversy
Later, when probed deeply, Pichai admitted, “You know, I think fake news as a whole could be an issue.” He added, “From our perspective, there should just be no situation where fake news gets distributed.” He further continued “I don’t think we should debate it as much as work hard to make sure we drive news to its more trusted sources, have more fact checking and make our algorithms work better,” he said to the BBC.
The fake news controversy drew immediate attention. Google hastily announced that it would restrict advertising on sites with fake news.
Close on the heels of Google was Facebook which announced similar measures. However, Mark Zuckerberg was in denial mode. He said “99 percent of what people see [on Facebook] is authentic,” in a relevant post.
The social media baron also opened earlier this month “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.” Zuckerberg had earlier held meetings with conservative leaders. The meetings were regarding the visibility of conservative opinions on Facebook. This happened months before the election as reported by Wired.
The statistics, please
The numbers, however, script a notion that the fake news controversy is very much an issue. According to Pew “62 percent of American adults get their news from social media.” 66 percent of users got their news from Facebook . That is about 44 percent of America’s population, reports Fortune.
Photo Courtesy: Maurizio Pesce/Flickr