Mark Zuckerberg: Social media platforms shouldn't fact-check Trump

Following Twitter's move to add warnings to some of the president's tweets, the Facebook founder sticks to his usual script on political speech.

David Priest Former editor
David Priest is an award-winning writer and editor who formerly covered home security for CNET.
David Priest
Mark Zuckerberg

Facebook's mission isn't to "parse words on if something is slightly true or false," says CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

Screenshot by David Priest/CNET

Mark Zuckerberg said in an interview with CNBC's Andrew Ross Sorkin that he believes social media platforms shouldn't fact-check President Donald Trump's posts. Across the nearly 20-minute conversation that aired Thursday, the CEO and founder of social media giant Facebook discussed the future of remote work, the new reality brought by COVID-19 and free speech on social media platforms.

Zuckerberg didn't directly address Twitter's recent decision to label some of Trump's recent tweets about mail-in ballots as containing "potentially misleading information." Instead, he discussed Facebook's approach and underlying philosophy as regards viral, online misinformation.

The purpose of Facebook's own fact-checking program, said Zuckerberg, "isn't to try to parse words on if something is slightly true or false ... [but rather] to catch the worst of the worst stuff."

Speaking more broadly, he added: "I don't think Facebook or internet platforms in general should be arbiters of truth." Political speech, he said, is already highly scrutinized by various entities in the media.

Zuckerberg did take exception to speech that he calls "dangerous," such as speech that "cause[s] violence" or leads people to harm themselves. "We'll take that down no matter who says that," he said.

Facebook didn't immediately reply to a request for further comments on the interview.

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