Nets Spread Liberal Meme: Facebook ‘Fake News’ Caused Trump Win

Eager to seize on anything that could explain away Donald Trump’s victory, on Monday, all three network morning shows promoted the left’s latest excuse that false stories being shared on Facebook tilted the election in the President-Elect’s favor.

On NBC’s Today, correspondent Jo Ling Kent announced: “Facebook now under fire. Critics say it allowed fake news to spread on the platform, potentially reaching millions of people, creating echo chambers and unfairly influencing the presidential election.” The irony of the liberal media complaining about the creation of “echo chambers” was missed in the report that followed.

Kent declared: “President-Elect Donald Trump, with his more than 14 million Twitter followers and growing, now crediting social media for propelling his campaign over Hillary Clinton....While Trump praises social media, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg now being forced to fend off criticism that the site allows fake news articles about Trump and Clinton to be shared online.”

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She quoted the Facebook founder dismissing the notion that such stories swung the election:

Taking to his own page, the 32-year-old posted a long defense of Facebook, saying he doesn't want the company to become the arbiter of truth. Saying, quote, “Of all the content on Facebook, more than 99% of what people see is authentic. Overall, this makes it extremely unlikely hoaxes changed the outcome of this election in one direction or the other.”

A soundbite ran of City University of New York journalism professor Jeff Jarvis lecturing: “We're always going have fake news, we're always going to have lies, we're always going to have idiocies out there. The only way to deal with that is to try to pump in reliable information, true information, reasonable and fact-based information.”

On ABC’s Good Morning America, fill-in co-host Amy Robach proclaimed: “And now to Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg, he is firing back against accusations that fake stories on the site influenced the election. He insists they did not, but is vowing to take action against them.”

Technology contributor Becky Worley reported on false “inflammatory stories” about both candidates, but made it clear that conservatives were the problem: “A study by Buzzfeed showed top left-wing sites published false or misleading stories about 19% of the time. But top right-wing conservative sites published almost twice as many hoax stories, at 38%.”

Co-host George Stephanopoulos touted “some real soul-searching at Facebook.” Worley explained Zuckerberg’s concerns:

And he said he wants more options for pushing accurate information to the top of our Facebook feed and possibly pushing inaccurate stories way down so that they’re seen less. But then, there's a big concern about those judgment calls. In his words, should Facebook itself become the arbiters of truth? Do they want to be fact-checkers? So here’s the question, is Facebook just a digital platform? We can say, we can post anything we want. Or is Facebook bound by the rules of journalism and editorial responsibility? That's a big issue that may influence this company’s future for a while.

Facebook’s judgment was called into question back in May, when it was revealed that the social network was censoring conservative stories from its news feed. The networks covered the controversy, but never examined their own political bias.

Monday’s CBS This Morning only provided a news brief on the topic, with co-host Norah O’Donnell telling viewers:

The New York Times says executives at Facebook are questioning the social network’s influence on the outcome of the election. Some workers at Facebook reportedly are worried about the spread of racist memes. Facebook is accused of also spreading fake news stories. In response, CEO Mark Zuckerberg said they’re making progress and, quote, “Our goal is to show people the content they will find most meaningful, and people want accurate news.”  

Given the overwhelming media opposition to Trump and the fact that journalists got their analysis of the campaign so thoroughly wrong, one would think they might be a little more hesitant casting blame.  

Here are transcripts of the NBC and ABC November 14 reports:

Today
7:32 AM ET

SAVANNAH GUTHRIE: Meantime, Mark Zuckerberg is fighting back against accusations Facebook helped spread misinformation during the presidential campaign. NBC’s Jo Ling Kent is here with more on that. Hi, Jo, good morning.

JO LING KENT: Hi, guys, good morning. Facebook now under fire. Critics say it allowed fake news to spread on the platform, potentially reaching millions of people, creating echo chambers and unfairly influencing the presidential election. But Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg says  deciding what’s allowed to be shared or not is not his job.

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Facebook, “Fake News” & Freedom; Trump, Zuckerberg Address Social Media’s Role in Election]

It's been called the viral victory.

DONALD TRUMP: It's where it's at. I do believe this, I really believe the fact that I have such power in terms of numbers with Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, et cetera.  

KENT: President-Elect Donald Trump, with his more than 14 million Twitter followers and growing, now crediting social media for propelling his campaign over Hillary Clinton.

TRUMP: I think it helped me win all of these races where they’re spending much more money than I spent.

KENT: While Trump praises social media, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg now being forced to fend off criticism that the site allows fake news articles about Trump and Clinton to be shared online.

MARK ZUCKERBERG: I do think that 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.

KENT: Some of the most viral examples – a satirical headline, “Pope Francis Endorses Trump,” was shared at least 97,000 times. Another bogus article saying Clinton personally bought $137 million worth of illegal weapons. Even Trump targeted in an image that wrongly quoted him as saying Republicans are the dumbest voters.

With nearly 1.8 billion people using it every month, Facebook is the world's biggest social media platform, far more influential than Twitter or Reddit. In fact, 62% of Americans get their news on social media, according to Pew Research.

But Zuckerberg insists Facebook didn't influence the election. Taking to his own page, the 32-year-old posted a long defense of Facebook, saying he doesn't want the company to become the arbiter of truth. Saying, quote, “Of all the content on Facebook, more than 99% of what people see is authentic. Overall, this makes it extremely unlikely hoaxes changed the outcome of this election in one direction or the other.” And when one Facebook user replied to Zuckerberg arguing it is the company's responsibility to separate fact from fiction, he disagreed, saying Facebook is a technology company and that “news and media are not the primary things people do on Facebook.”

JEFF JARVIS [CUNY JOURNALISM PROFESSOR]: We're always going have fake news, we're always going to have lies, we're always going to have idiocies out there. The only way to deal with that is to try to pump in reliable information, true information, reasonable and fact-based information.

KENT: A new debate on and offline about social media’s role in politics as President-Elect Trump heads to the White House.

Now, Facebook is declining to comment further on the issue. Zuckerberg say there's more Facebook can do and the company will work to improve those tools to flag that fake news. But it goes way beyond that, you guys. Trump’s team tells Buzzfeed that Facebook is the single most important platform to find and grow new donors for its fundraising as well.

GUTHRIE: I think we've all seen the power of social media throughout this campaign. Jo, thank you so much.

 

Good Morning America
7:41 AM ET

AMY ROBACH: And now to Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg, he is firing back against accusations that fake stories on the site influenced the election. He insists they did not, but is vowing to take action against them. And Becky Worley joins us. So Becky, tell us what types of stories we’re we talking about that we’re seeing in the days leading up to the election.

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Facebook Boss Vows to Tackle Fake News; Growing Concern Over Hoax Stories]

BECKY WORLEY: Really inflammatory stories. Ones that are outright lies or super misleading  headlines, Amy. Take this one, that said, “FBI Agent Suspected in Hillary E-Mail Leaks Found Dead.” That’s a fake story. Then there’s this one that said Donald Trump had lost the support of the police unions, when he had merely been chided by one of the union executives. A study by Buzzfeed showed top left-wing sites published false or misleading stories about 19% of the time. But top right-wing conservative sites published almost twice as many hoax stories, at 38%.

You know, given the changing way we’re getting our news, it's, you know, all about social feeds. Critics saying those viral hoaxes could have really influenced the election.

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: And Becky, it does seem to have – from the reports I’ve read – created some real soul-searching at Facebook.

WORLEY: Yeah, Mark Zuckerberg is taking it seriously. He posted on his feed, saying Facebook, they don't want hoaxes. They want meaningful info for people. But he says claimed 99% of what people see is authentic. And he said he wants more options for pushing accurate information to the top of our Facebook feed and possibly pushing inaccurate stories way down so that they’re seen less. But then, there's a big concern about those judgment calls. In his words, should Facebook itself become the arbiters of truth? Do they want to be fact-checkers? So here’s the question, is Facebook just a digital platform? We can say, we can post anything we want. Or is Facebook bound by the rules of journalism and editorial responsibility? That's a big issue that may influence this company’s future for a while.

STEPHANOPOULOS: And they haven't settled it yet, have they?

WORLEY: No, this is an ongoing issue that they say they are going to research, George.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Okay, Becky, thanks very much.

NB Daily Campaigns & Elections 2016 Presidential Conservatives & Republicans Facebook ABC Good Morning America CBS CBS This Morning NBC Today Video Mark Zuckerberg Amy Robach Norah O'Donnell Donald Trump

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