Sheryl Sandberg Says Fake News On Facebook Didn’t Sway The Election

Though Facebook’s chief operating officer said the company was taking measures to prevent the spread of false information, she denied that it played a key role in the election.

"We don't think it swayed election but we take that responsibility really seriously." @sherylsandberg on #fakenews

Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg on Thursday said that the company does not believe it swayed the election by allowing fake news to proliferate on its platform.

“There’ve been claims that it swayed the election, and we don’t think it swayed the election,” Sandberg said on NBC’s Today show.

The statement echoed that of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, who on Nov. 10 said the idea that Facebook could have influenced the election in any way "is a pretty crazy idea." Two days later, Zuckerberg added, "Identifying the 'truth' is complicated."

A BuzzFeed News analysis in October found that hyperpartisan Facebook pages had been publishing false and misleading information to millions of followers at an alarming rate. Right-wing pages posted fake stories 38% of the time, while 20% of left-wing pages’ stories were false.

Another BuzzFeed News analysis in November revealed that the 20 top-performing fake news stories about the election generated about 1 million more shares, reactions, and comments on Facebook when compared to the 20 top-performing stories from major news sites.

Sandberg on Thursday acknowledged the issue of fake news and said Facebook has “been working on this for a long time and we’ve taken important steps, but we know that there’s a lot more to do.”

She added that the company is considering working with third parties to help them label fake news and “doing the things we can do to make it clearer what’s a hoax on Facebook.”