There has been a lot of talk about whether or not the spread of fake news and disinformation on Facebook influenced the 2016 presidential election. It’s an idea that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has dismissed as being “crazy.” According to a new report, former President Barack Obama told Zuckerberg at one point in time to take the threat of fake news seriously.
The Washington Post reports that Obama pulled Zuckerberg aside and told him to take the threat of fake news and political disinformation seriously. Obama added that unless the government and Facebook did more to address this issue, it’s only likely going to get worse in the next presidential race.
According to the scribe, this conversation took place just nine days after Zuckerberg said that the idea of fake news on Facebook influencing the election was “crazy,” two months before Donald Trump was inaugurated as the new president.
Sources briefed on the private exchange between the two say that while Zuckerberg agreed that fake news posed problems, he told Obama and this wasn’t a widespread problem and that there wasn’t an easy fix for it. The conversation reportedly took place in a hotel room in Lima, Peru during a meeting of world leaders.
Facebook has made efforts to combat the spread of fake news on its platform. It also launched a campaign to help users spot fake news. Some say that it’s too little too late. Only time will tell if these measures will prevent something like this from ever happening again.