By Kathryn Perrott
Experts have disputed Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg’s claim that less than 1 per cent of the social media network’s content is fake, amid accusations hoaxes influenced the United States election outcome.
Mr Zuckerberg said it was “extremely unlikely hoaxes changed the outcome of this election in one direction or the other” in a statement posted on Facebook.
“Of all the content on Facebook, more than 99 per cent of what people see is authentic,” Mr Zuckerberg said.
“Only a very small amount is fake news and hoaxes.”
But Griffith University’s professor of journalism and social media, Mark Pearson, said he was suspicious of the statistic.
“There is an enormous amount of misinformation on Facebook and other social media,” Professor Pearson told ABC News.
During the election campaign, fake news about now President-elect Donald Trump and Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton circulated online.
Stories about Mr Trump calling Republicans the “dumbest group of voters” and Mrs Clinton accidentally paying the Islamic State group $US400 million were among those determined to be false by myth-busting website Snopes.
On election day, stories claiming Harambe the gorilla [who was shot at Cincinnati Zoo earlier this year], received thousands of votes were found to be fake.
“I am sure many of these posts would have influenced voters,” Professor Pearson said.
Facebook cautious about being ‘arbiters of truth’
University of Queensland journalism and computer science lecturer Dr Daniel Angus said some “trolls” made fake news for fun, but others did it with a political purpose.
“Some put it out on the internet as a form of persuasive communication, to try to sway or sow seeds of doubt in people’s mind about the character of an individual, or group,” Dr Angus said.