Mark Zuckerberg Says Effort to Combat Fake News Won’t Limit ‘People’s Freedom of Expression’

“I have instructed our team to proceed carefully and focus on fighting spam, not flagging opinions,” Facebook CEO says

CEO Mark Zuckerberg took to Facebook to explain how his company’s new partnerships designed to combat fake news will filter out fact checkers who are politically motivated or working with an agenda.

“I understand how sensitive this is and I have instructed our team to proceed carefully and focus on fighting spam, not flagging opinions. For example, we’re focused on obvious hoaxes with headlines like ‘Michael Phelps just died of a heart attack’ designed to get people to click on the stories and see ads,” Zuckerberg wrote. “Our goal is to reduce these hoaxes just like we fight other scams on our platform, but I want us to be especially careful about never being arbiters of truth ourselves — which is why we’re working with third-party fact-checkers. We’ll keep looking for unbiased third parties to add to our list of reviewers.”

Zuckerberg said that he’s “going to keep a close eye on it” to make sure Facebook is “fighting actual spam and hoaxes, and not limiting people’s freedom of expression.”

The Facebook CEO made the comments in response to a question on his page asking, “How will you know if these fact checkers are not politically motivated or affiliated themselves? Even ‘respected’ news outlets are biased and misrepresent news as it is. It’s a very grey complex area.”

Zuckerberg told the user that it was an “important question” before diving into his answer.

On Thursday, Facebook announced a deal with ABC News, FactCheck.org, Snopes and Politifact to combat the spread of fake news that has become a key issue across media in recent months.

ABC News president James Goldston told TheWrap that he is “eager to help” prevent what is an “alarming amount of misinformation” circulating on the internet.

“I think we’ve all seen the toxic effects of fake news over the course of this election cycle and we regard ABC News as being a key part of that public service mission to help the American people understand what is real out there,” Goldston said. “I do believe that fake news is a true scourge of journalism. I think it’s extremely dangerous.”