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Zuckerberg criticises Twitter as Trump mulls reaction to fact-checking tool

Donald Trump considering an executive order after vowing a “Big day for Social Media and FAIRNESS”


Mark Zuckerberg, the CEO of Facebook, has criticised his rival social network Twitter for implementing a new fact-checking tool.


In an interview with Fox News Business, Mr Zuckerberg said: "We have a different policy, I think, than Twitter on this. I just believe strongly that Facebook shouldn't be the arbiter of truth of everything that people say online.”


The 36-year-old with a net worth of more than $50bn (£41bn, €45bn) added: “In general, private companies, especially these platform companies, probably shouldn't be in the position of doing that.”

The fact-check feature has been seen by many in right-leaning circles in the US as a way to instil political bias while masquerading as an impartial provider of facts. Although President Donald Trump famously uses Twitter to communicate, he has long argued that the platform is prone to censorship and political bias.


Responding to the anger triggered by the roll-out of the new fact-checking system, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey stated: “There is someone ultimately accountable for our actions as a company, and that’s me. Please leave our employees out of this. We’ll continue to point out incorrect or disputed information about elections globally. And we will admit to and own any mistakes we make.”


Although Facebook and Twitter are rivals, Mark Zuckerberg’s intervention indicates that the senior executives of leading US social networks fear a potential backlash from the White House and are potentially trying to calm the situation. The Facebook chief appeared on Fox News, the news channel most watched by the president.


For many years, social media companies such as Facebook and Twitter have claimed not to be publishers, but platforms. This distinction lessens the regulatory scrutiny and responsibility on the shoulders of the sites and their executives.


Whether Mr Zuckerberg will succeed in soothing the situation is as yet unclear. On Thursday morning (EDT), Fox Business Network confirmed that Donald Trump was considering an executive order regarding social media companies. The president himself tweeted: “This will be a Big Day for Social Media and FAIRNESS!”


In late-morning Thursday trading Twitter’s share price had fallen by 2.15 per cent to $32.36. Facebook’s remains effectively unchanged, up 0.04 per cent at $229.03.


FURTHER READING: Twitter enables fact-check warning on Trump’s tweets for the first time


FURTHER READING: Facebook rebrands digital wallet

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