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Zuckerberg: Idea that 'fake news' on Facebook turned the election is 'crazy'

By Ed Adamczyk
Zuckerberg: Idea that 'fake news' on Facebook turned the election is 'crazy'
Founder of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, attends Samsung Electronics' publicity event in Barcelona, Spain on Feb. 21, 2016 to unveil the company's new flagship smartphone, the Galaxy 7. The 2016 Mobile World Congress, the world's largest trade fair for the mobile industry, kicks off its four-day run tomorrow. Samsung also unveiled the Galaxy S7 Edge smartphone. Photo courtesy of Yonhap/UPI

HALF MOON BAY , Calif., Nov. 11 (UPI) -- Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg rejected the idea that "fake" news stories on Facebook my have contributed to the election of Donald Trump as president.

Speaking Thursday at a technology conference near San Francisco, Zuckerberg addressed suggestions that the company allowed "fake news" on Facebook, which tilted the election toward Republican Party candidate Donald Trump.

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"To think it influenced the election in any way is a pretty crazy idea," he said. "I do think there is a certain profound lack of empathy in asserting that the only reason someone could have voted the way they did is they saw some fake news. If you believe that, then I don't think you have internalized the message the Trump supporters are trying to send in this election."

He added that Facebook exposed its more than 1 billion users to various political views, dismissing the idea that the social network helped form groups of like-minded people.

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Earlier Thursday, Facebook announced it would attempt to find and remove misinformation on its news feed and in its list of trending topics.

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"We value authentic communication, and hear consistently from those who use Facebook that they prefer not to see misinformation," Adam Mosseri, Facebook's vice president of product management, said in a statement, adding "We understand there's so much more we need to do." {link: USA Today: "http://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/news/2016/11/10/mark-zuckerberg-facebook-fake-news-didnt-sway-election/93622620/" target="_blank"} reported Friday that nearly half of Americans get information from Facebook, and only two in 10 receive it from print newspapers, citing the Pew Research Center. The spread of misinformation appeared to accelerate as the election neared its end, to the that point President Barack Obama addressed the matter during a rally Monday for Democratic Party candidate Hillary Clinton.

"If they just repeat attacks enough, and outright lies over and over again, as long as it's on Facebook and people can see it, as long as it's on social media, people start believing it. And it creates this dust cloud of nonsense."

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Facebook said 115.3 million users generated 716.3 million posts pertinent to the election. The Internet news and social network platform Twitter Inc. reported over 75 million election-related tweets in 2016, twice the number recorded in 2012.

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