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