Facebook chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg went on the defensive this week to answer criticisms about the site’s role in the spread of fake news. However, she made several interesting admissions in her statements, including a comment that fake news is financially motivated.
To this point, Facebook has downplayed the idea that its algorithms and advertising dollars reward the purveyors of fake news. But Sandberg seemed to admit as much in a recent interview.
“We’re focused on decreasing the financial incentives for false news because a lot of times it is financially motivated. We all have to do our part to make sure that people see accurate information and figuring out how we do that is something that we’re going to have to see and will evolve,” she said.
During the interview, which has yet to air on the BBC, Sandberg also said that she believes fake news “hurts everyone” and that Facebook takes its responsibility to remove it “very seriously.” However, she also denied Facebook’s role as a media player, something many critics have insisted the site own.
“I don’t think we have to be the publisher and we definitely don’t want to be the arbiter of the truth,” she said. “We don’t think that’s appropriate for us.”
Of course, Facebook has a huge role to play in the current media climate whether it wants to or not. Let’s hope it starts taking even more responsibility for the kind of content its billion-plus users see every day.