Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has urged world leaders to invest in connecting citizens to the internet, during a speech at an international summit in Peru.
Zuckerberg promoted the role internet connectivity plays in lifting communities out of poverty, improving global health and supplementing education across the world in an address before the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) leaders’ meeting Saturday. He also called on more world leaders to sign the "Connectivity Declaration", [[ https://connecttheworld.one.org/ ]] an initiative he proposed at the U.N. last year, which aims to provide an internet connection for the entire world by 2020.
Zuckerberg's address follows heavy scrutiny of the role played by his massive social media in the recent U.S. presidential election. Critics have said Facebook did too little to crack down on fake news stories that are widely shared on the platform, misinforming voters about key issues. Zuckerberg has strongly denied that Facebook played a decisive role in the U.S. election, but he did say Saturday the company remains focused on the "fake news" issue.
"We can work to give people a voice, but we also need to do our part to stop the spread of hate, and violence, and misinformation," Zuckerberg said.
The day before, Zuckerberg outlined his plan to improve Facebook's algorithm, which has been accused of not distinguishing between fake and verified news. He posted the seven-point plan on his Facebook profile, [[ https://www.facebook.com/zuck/posts/10103269806149061 ]] emphasizing that Facebook does not normally make such plans public. Zuckerberg said he wanted to assure users that he is committed to combating this issue even though he said it made up a "small percentage" of Facebook content.
Last month, Facebook teamed up with Twitter and nearly 30 other companies to tackle a growing trend of "fake news" circulating on social media.
Concerns over fake news on Facebook caught the public's attention earlier this year when the company announced that its "trending news" feature would be decided by an algorithm instead of human editors. The move was initially aimed at eliminating political bias, but the algorithm ended up allowing false or highly misleading news stories to be shared widely before the company removed them.
The issue was revived in the wake of Donald Trump's election as president of the United States, after critics said Trump's campaign was aided by favorable fake news stories shared on Facebook.