Some think the shady political memes, questionable quotes, and links to eyebrow-raising stories that proliferated on social media throughout the election may have had a significant impact on the actual outcome of the election. Except for someone who happens to know social media pretty well. "Personally I think the idea that fake news on Facebook, which is a very small amount of the content, influenced the election in any way—I think [it's] a pretty crazy idea," Mark Zuckerberg shrugged Thursday, per the Verge. "Voters make decisions based on their lived experience." And the Facebook chief—speaking at the Techonomy conference in Half Moon Bay, Calif., per Forbes—laid out a few reasons for why he feels this way.
He cited a "profound lack of empathy" by those who insist other people voted only because of fake news. "If you believe that, then I don't think you have internalized the message the Trump supporters are trying to send in this election," he said, per the Verge. He also noted there were fake, misleading, or inaccurate Hillary Clinton-leaning articles as well on social media (though a BuzzFeed probe from October found nearly double the number of iffy posts on "hyperpartisan" right-wing sites than on left-wing ones). Zuckerberg also denied Facebook's algorithm creates an "echo chamber" that puts roadblocks up to receiving a diverse mix of information. One "hard truth" he did acknowledge: People just don't click on articles that appear to conflict with their own beliefs. "We just tune out [and] I don't know what to do about that," he admitted. (Read more Mark Zuckerberg stories.)