Facebook shareholders have demanded a report on so-called fake news and the apparent threat it poses to democracy and free speech, according to a proxy filing made on Friday.
The proposal argues that Facebook was in part responsible for the fake news epidemic that leftists claim is gripping the United States, as it provides “a financial mechanism supporting fabricated content” online. Suggested areas for the report to cover include how Facebook evaluates claims made in posts and how their strategy affects free speech.
One part of the proposal highlighted some of the reasons why they believed the report was needed:
Facebook is highly vulnerable, as fake news promoters are spamming their way to visibility for fake news through strategically gaming Facebook’s algorithms and publishing platform… In light of the societal crisis generated by the explosion of fake news and related hate speech, failure to effectively manage this issue creates public policy risk.
Facebook’s board of directors has recommended a vote against the proposal, along with shutting down another that would compel Facebook to disclose the pay gap between male and female employees.
This may come as a surprise to some, as Facebook has recently been cracking down on accounts deemed to be spreading spam or fake news. On Friday, Facebook announced it was purging a “substantial number” of accounts, created largely in South Asian countries that were spamming users.
On the more political side of fake news, 30,000 accounts linked to France were targeted ahead of their upcoming Presidential election as part of an effort to “reduce the spread of material generated through inauthentic activity, including spam, misinformation, or other deceptive content that is often shared by creators of fake accounts.” Facebook has also enlisted the help of partisan “fact-checking” organizations Snopes and Politifact, introducing warning labels on stories deemed to be fake news.