Sheryl Sandberg: "People Don’t Want to See Hoaxes on Facebook, and We Don't Want to Either"

Kimberly White/Getty Images
Sheryl Sandberg

The social media giant is committed to addressing fake news, the COO tells the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

Social media giant Facebook is committed to addressing fake news and hoaxes, COO Sheryl Sandberg told the World Economic in Davos, Switzerland, on Wednesday. 

The company recently unveiled initiatives to fight hoaxes after critics argued that fake news affected the U.S. presidential election.

“We know that people don’t want to see hoaxes on Facebook, and we don’t want to either,” Sandberg said during a panel discussion in Davos. “And we have announced in the last week a lot of steps we are taking, including helping people report more, working with third-party fact-checkers to get the hoaxes off and, importantly, taking away the financial incentives for spammers, which is really where a lot of this lies.”

In announcing the initiatives, Adam Mosseri, vp Facebook’s News Feed, had said about the spammers and their incentives: “Spammers make money by masquerading as well-known news organizations and posting hoaxes that get people to visit their sites, which are often mostly ads.”

He added: “So we’re doing several things to reduce the financial incentives. On the buying side we’ve eliminated the ability to spoof domains, which will reduce the prevalence of sites that pretend to be real publications. On the publisher side, we are analyzing publisher sites to detect where policy enforcement actions might be necessary.”

Sandberg on Wednesday concluded her comments by underlining Facebook’s commitment to addressing the issue of fake news. “So, we do have a responsibility and we take it really seriously,” she said.

She spoke during a panel entitled “A Positive Narrative for the Global Community,” which also included the likes of Meg Whitman, CEO of Hewlett Packard Enterprise, and Pakistani filmmaker Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy, who has won two Oscars for best documentary (short subject).