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OBAMA WARNED MARK ZUCKERBERG ABOUT FACEBOOK'S PROBLEMS

Date: 2017-09-28



Facebook has become the key tool for fake news and spreading disinformation and manipulate political communities online.

The social media platform was designed to influence across borders, but Mark Zuckerberg has been slow to acknowledge that a tool such as Facebook can be used in bad faith. 

The Washington Post reported that Mark Zuckerberg even shrugged off warnings from President Obama himself. 

[H]uddled in a private room on the sidelines of a meeting of world leaders in Lima, Peru, two months before Trump’s inauguration, Obama made a personal appeal to Zuckerberg to take the threat of fake news and political disinformation seriously. Unless Facebook and the government did more to address the threat, Obama warned, it would only get worse in the next presidential race.

Zuckerberg acknowledged the problem posed by fake news. But he told Obama that those messages weren’t widespread on Facebook and that there was no easy remedy, according to people briefed on the exchange.

Obama's warnings – as described by Post – the White House knew about the meddling with Russian influence operations but was undecided about how to handle it, and Zuckerberg did not see it as a big deal. The site is now grappling with revelations that Russian government-linked agencies purchased political ads as part of a sophisticated and wide-ranging disinformation campaign, and Zuckerberg is — slowly — admitting publicly how badly his platform was misused. It would have been nice if he’d listened to Obama in the first place.



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