Facebook’s global policy head says there is “no silver bullet” for fake news

Monika Bickert.
Monika Bickert.
Image: Reuters/Gary Cameron
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Facebook is under a lot of pressure to fight fake news. But Monika Bickert, the head of global policy and counter-terrorism at Facebook, said on Thursday that there is “no silver bullet” for combatting the phenomenon.

“We don’t want false news on Facebook,” Bickert, whose job includes grappling with the most difficult issues Facebook faces, from terrorism and misinformation to live-streaming suicide, said at The New York Times’ Dealbook conference on Thursday, Nov. 9. Users come to the platform to get authentic information, she said.

With no single solution, the company is trying out a myriad of options, often with less-than-stellar results. The latest effort was a test that prioritized comments that showed disbelief under news posts, which resulted in top comments that decried legitimate news as fake.

During her conversation with New York Times columnist Andrew Ross Sorkin, Bickert, who is a former federal prosecutor, also spoke about the challenge of adapting a “borderless service” to the laws of different countries. Facebook has a set of global community standards, but it will accommodate requests from government to block certain content in that country—like hate speech in Germany. “It’s tricky because when you do that you’re breaking this borderless service.”