Mark Zuckerberg says the idea that fake news on Facebook swung the election is 'pretty crazy'

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Since Donald Trump's stunning election victory, some people have been very quick to blame Facebook — specifically, the proliferation of fake news on the social network that President Obama called a "dust cloud of nonsense" — for swinging the vote against Hillary Clinton.

Mark Zuckerberg thinks otherwise.

"Personally, I think the idea that fake news on Facebook, it's a very small amount of the content, influenced the election in any way is a pretty crazy idea," Zuckerberg says speaking on stage at the Techonomy conference.

Related: Newspapers around the world react to Trump's win

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Newspapers around the world react to Trump's win
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Newspapers around the world react to Trump's win
A businessman walks past copies of the London Evening Standard newspaper, featuring a picture of U.S. President-elect Donald Trump on its front page, waiting to be picked up in the square mile financial district of the City of London, U.K., on Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2016. Donald Trump was elected the 45th president of the United States in a stunning repudiation of the political establishment that jolted financial markets and likely will reorder the nation's priorities and fundamentally alter America's relationship with the world. Photographer: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg via Getty Images
A Mexican holds a newspaper with headlines referring to the eventual triumph of Donald Trump on November 9, 2016 in Mexico City. / AFP / PEDRO PARDO (Photo credit should read PEDRO PARDO/AFP/Getty Images)
Mexican newspapers with their front page referring to the eventual triumph of US presidential candidate Donald Trump on November 9, 2016 in Mexico City. / AFP / YURI CORTEZ (Photo credit should read YURI CORTEZ/AFP/Getty Images)
A Mexican holds a newspaper with headlines about on the eventual triumph of Donald Trump on November 9, 2016 in Mexico City. / AFP / PEDRO PARDO (Photo credit should read PEDRO PARDO/AFP/Getty Images)
Copies of a special edition of the Financial Times newspaper, featuring a picture of U.S. President-elect Donald Trump on its front page, sit waiting to be picked up in the square mile financial district of the City of London, U.K., on Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2016. Donald Trump was elected the 45th president of the United States in a stunning repudiation of the political establishment that jolted financial markets and likely will reorder the nation's priorities and fundamentally alter America's relationship with the world. Photographer: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg via Getty Images
A Mexican newspaper with its front page referring to the eventual triumph of US presidential candidate Donald Trump on November 9, 2016 in Mexico City. / AFP / YURI CORTEZ (Photo credit should read YURI CORTEZ/AFP/Getty Images)
A Mexican newspaper with its front page referring to the eventual triumph of US presidential candidate Donald Trump on November 9, 2016 in Mexico City. / AFP / YURI CORTEZ (Photo credit should read YURI CORTEZ/AFP/Getty Images)
A Mexican reads a newspaper with headlines about on the eventual triumph of Donald Trump on November 9, 2016 in Mexico City. / AFP / PEDRO PARDO (Photo credit should read PEDRO PARDO/AFP/Getty Images)
View of Guatemalan newspapers informing about the victory of US presidential candidate Donald Trump in their front pages, in Guatemala City on November 9, 2016. / AFP / JOHAN ORDONEZ (Photo credit should read JOHAN ORDONEZ/AFP/Getty Images)
Colombian newspapers report the victory of US presidential candidate Donald Trump on their front pages, in Medellin, Colombia, on November 9, 2016 / AFP / STR / RAUL ARBOLEDA (Photo credit should read RAUL ARBOLEDA/AFP/Getty Images)
An 'I Voted' sticker adorns a newspaper at an election watch party organized by the American Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong, China, on Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2016. Republican Donald Trump was projected to win North Carolina and Florida, an unexpectedly strong showing in results Tuesday night that potentially throws the balance in the presidential race to Michigan and Wisconsin, key parts of Hillary Clinton's Midwestern electoral firewall. Photographer: Anthony Kwan/Bloomberg via Getty Images
TOKYO, JAPAN - NOVEMBER 09: A man distributes an extra edition of a newspaper featuring a front page report on the U.S. Presidential Election and Republican President-elect Donald Trump on November 9, 2016 in Tokyo, Japan. Donald Trump defeated Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton to become the 45th president of the United States. (Photo by Yuya Shino/Getty Images)
Chilean newspapers report the victory of US presidential candidate Donald Trump on their front pages, in Santiago, on November 9, 2016 / AFP / MARTiN BERNETTi (Photo credit should read MARTIN BERNETTI/AFP/Getty Images)
An Iraqi man holds an edition of Iraqi daily newspaper Azzaman displaying pictures of US presidential candidates Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton in Baghdad on November 9, 2016. Billionaire populist Donald Trump, tapping into an electorate fed up with Washington insiders, was on the verge of a shock victory over Hillary Clinton in a historic US presidential election that sent world markets into meltdown. / AFP / SABAH ARAR (Photo credit should read SABAH ARAR/AFP/Getty Images)
The New York Post newspaper featuring president-elect Donald Trump's victory is displayed on a New York newsstand, Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2016 in New York. Donald Trump claimed his place Wednesday as America's 45th president, an astonishing victory for the celebrity businessman and political novice who capitalized on voters' economic anxieties, took advantage of racial tensions and overcame a string of sexual assault allegations on his way to the White House. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)
A Clarin newspaper, left, with a headline reading in Spanish "Trump was winning and U.S begins an era that shocks the world" with a picture of President-elect Donald Trump is prepared to be delivered outside a building in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2016. (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko)
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In fact, he says, if you believe that fake news spread by Facebook had a major impact on the election, it betrays a "profound lack of empathy," showing that you don't take Trump supporters and their stances seriously.

"If you believe that, then I don't think you've internalized the message that Trump supporters are trying to send," Zuckerberg says, though he didn't get the chance to elaborate on this point.

He also says that while Clinton supporters are concerned about fake news that supports the worldview of Trump supporters, it ignores the idea that there's an equal amount of false stories the other way.

"Why would you think that there'd be fake news on one side and not the other?" Zuckerberg asks.

Related: Top Mark Zuckerberg quotes

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Mark Zuckerberg quotes
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Mark Zuckerberg quotes

"In a world that's changing really quickly, the only strategy that is guaranteed to fail is not taking risks." 

Photo credit: Shutterstock

"People don't care about what you say, they care about what you build."

Photo credit: Getty

"You are better off trying something and having it not work and learning from that than not doing anything at all."

Photo credit: Getty

“In terms of doing work and in terms of learning and evolving as a person, you just grow more when you get more people’s perspectives.”

Photo credit: Getty

"People can be really smart or have skills that are directly applicable, but if they don't really believe in it, then they are not going to really work hard."

Photo credit: Getty

"Building a mission and building a business go hand-in-hand."

Photo credit: Getty

"We look for people who are passionate about something. In a way, it almost doesn't matter what you're passionate about."

Photo credit: Getty

"The question I ask myself like almost every day is, 'Am I doing the most important thing I could be doing?' ... Unless I feel like I'm working on the most important problem that I can help with, then I'm not going to feel good about how I'm spending my time.”

Photo credit: Getty

"Move fast and break things. Unless you are breaking stuff, you are not moving fast enough."

Photo credit: Getty

“People think innovation is just having a good idea but a lot of it is just moving quickly and trying a lot of things.”

Photo credit: Getty

"I think a simple rule of business is, if you do the things that are easier first, then you can actually make a lot of progress."

Photo credit: Getty

"The question isn't, 'What do we want to know about people?', It's, 'What do people want to tell about themselves?'"

Photo credit: Getty

“So many businesses get worried about looking like they might make a mistake, they become afraid to take any risk. Companies are set up so that people judge each other on failure.”

Photo credit: Getty

“I would rather be in the cycle where people are underestimating us. It gives us latitude to go out and make big bets that excite and amaze people.”

Photo credit: Getty

"My goal was never to just create a company. A lot of people misinterpret that, as if I don't care about revenue or profit or any of those things. But what not being 'just' a company means to me is building something that actually makes a really big change in the world."

Photo credit: Getty 

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'I think people are smart'

In general, Zuckerberg says, it's always smart to bet that people can separate truth from lies for themselves, and that they know what issues matter to them, even as "we do our best" to remove hoaxes as they pop up.

And, in response to the idea of a "filter bubble," or the concept that Facebook's News Feed insulates its users from articles and stories representing dissenting viewpoints, Zuckerberg says that those articles do indeed appear, "you just don't click on it, you just tune it out when you see it."

Instead, it's simply that people are good at recognizing what matters to them, and better than people give them credit for at navigating conflicting sources of information.

donald trumpThomson Reuters

"I think people are smart, and that people understand what is important to them," Zuckerberg says.

Overall, Zuckerberg — who made it clear that he wasn't a huge fan of President-elect Trump in the months leading up to the election — struck an optimistic and conciliatory tone.

He says that stuff like building virtual reality, artificial intelligence, and working at scientific breakthroughs will still go on within Facebook and outside of it, regardless of who's at the helm of the government.

"Well, we have a lot of work to do, but that would have been true either way," Zuckerberg says. "It would not be right to suggest that it changes the fundamental arc of technology and progress over time."

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