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Facebook doesn't want to be 'arbiter of the truth' says COO Sheryl Sandberg

Sandberg spoke to BBC 2 on Monday evening

Facebook's chief operating officer, Sheryl Sandberg, has said it would be "inappropriate" for the platform to play publisher when it comes to fake news.

Speaking to BBC Newsnight on Monday evening (24 April) the executive said that Facebook takes its responsibilities around the subject "very seriously" but does not believe itself to be an "arbiter of the truth".

"We think everyone needs to do their part. Newsrooms have to do their part, media companies, classrooms and technology companies," she told interviewer Emily Maitlis. "We’re focused on decreasing the financial incentives for false news because a lot of times it is financially motivated."

"We all have to do our part to make sure that people see accurate information and figuring out how we do that is something that we're going to have to see and will evolve," she added. "But we know the goal, the goal is for people to see accurate information on Facebook and everywhere else."

Her comments come just weeks after Facebook announced plans to pay fact-checkers to monitor news flowing through its feed, Adam Mosseri, the company's vice-president of product management for news feed said that commercial partnerships were being formed to tackle the issue.

Facebook has already formed partnerships with third parties like Snopes, and Berlin-based non-profit Correctiv to have them authenticate stories shared within its walls.

Sandberg's resistance to Facebook being touted as a publisher follows on from a debate at the end of last year around Facebook's status. Founder and boss Mark Zuckerberg appeared to soften his stance on the matter in December, saying his business was "not a traditional media company."

Her BBC interview, in which she discusses the impact of her husband's tragic death and her new book Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy, is available to watch in full below.

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Rebecca Stewart

Rebecca Stewart is a reporter at The Drum with a remit to cover the latest developments in social media marketing and wider industry news. Based in Glasgow, she has interviewed key figures from brands like Airbnb, Amnesty International, Facebook and Spotify. She has covered international events in Berlin and Amsterdam, as well as Advertising Week Europe.

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