Okay, with Zuckerberg testifying in front of Congress, this is as good a time as any to get something off of my chest.
IF YOU THINK THAT "FAKE NEWS" AFFECTING POLITICS IS A SOCIAL MEDIA PROBLEM, YOU ARE MISSING A LOT OF HISTORY. And some of that history is well within living memory.
When Thomas Jefferson first ran for President, he was facing a dark-money group called the Anti-Masonic League: a religious-right group, funded by his political opponents, who mass-published pamphlets "proving" that Jefferson was one of the leaders of an assassination squad that intended to murder every other head of state, and every Christian cleric in the world. He won anyway, but it's still history worth knowing.
I could cite other historical examples, but I've lived through lots of these, and let me tell you as someone who fought these rumor campaigns, I would have loved to have had Facebook back then: the "cult brainwashing" moral panic of the 1970s, the "Proctor & Gamble is Satanic" conspiracy theory rumor of the '70s through the '90s, the "D&D cult suicide" moral panic of the '80s, and the "Satanic Ritual Abuse" scare of the '80s and '90s. All of them spread hand to hand, in pamphlets and newsletters run off on mimeographs or via filched time on the copying machines at people's jobs. Are the printers to blame? the companies that didn't stop people from filching copies? the Post Office for not intercepting their mail?
You want a really entertaining trip down a really weird rabbit-hole? Google "The Testimony of John Todd Collins" some time. That particular conspiracy-theory fraud was trivially easily debunked (even Christianity Today dedicated an issue to proving it wrong), but it spread like wildfire for over a decade on the same kind of samizdat cassette tapes that Ruhollah Khomeini used to spread the Iranian Revolution. If you listen to it now, or read the more easily found transcript, John W. Todd's fraudulent "confession" sounds hilarious -- but so many people believed it that it helped Ronald Reagan win the 1980 election.
Mark Zuckerberg is taking our culture's equivalent of a flogging in the public square for not doing more to stop the spread of easily-debunked slanders and conspiracy theories, but you know what? At any time from the mid '70s through the mid '90s, when I was actively trying to stop these exact same kinds of friends-and-family-spread panics, I would have dearly loved to have been able to reply to my friends or family who fell for this kind of shit with a Snopes link. That way, not only could I have discouraged them from doing it again, I could have shown the people that they hadn't yet persuaded exactly why they shouldn't spread it further.
I don't blame Facebook, or any other social media platform, for fake news. I'm grateful that Facebook, and most of the other social media companies, have given me tools this good for fighting fake news.