Satirical websites target Mark Zuckerberg with fake news

Two Australia-based satirical websites are using fictional headlines about Zuckerberg to call attention to his stance on fact-checking by social media companies.

Last week, Twitter began fact-checking and restricting President Donald Trump’s tweets. When asked his opinion on Twitter’s decision, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg vehemently disagreed with the company’s actions.

“I think in general private companies probably shouldn't be — especially these platform companies — shouldn’t be in the position of doing that,” he explained at the time.

Satirical websites are now using fake headlines to call attention to Zuckerberg's controversial stance. The first article, posted on Facebook by The Chaser, is titled "'Social media should not fact check posts,' says child molester Mark Zuckerberg." The post quickly went viral on Facebook and was reportedly viewed by 1.2 million people in under 12 hours, crashing The Chaser’s website.

“It turns out Facebook users love this type of content – so I guess we’ll just have to churn out more of it,” Charles Firth, managing editor of The Chaser told The Guardian.

The second article posted last week comes from a site called The Shovel and is titled "Mark Zuckerberg—Dead at 36—Says Social Media Should Not Fact Check Posts."

Much like The Chaser’s post, The Shovel’s Zuckerberg post quickly went viral on Facebook and Twitter with more than 6,000 retweets. A screenshot of The Shovel's story also reached the top of Reddit’s r/all subreddit.

Facebook has not yet removed either of the satirical posts targeting Zuckerberg. That’s not much of a surprise, though, as Facebook’s community standards on the spread of fake news make a distinction for satirical posts.

"There is also a fine line between false news and satire or opinion," Facebook's standards read. "For these reasons, we don't remove false news from Facebook, but instead significantly reduce its distribution by showing it lower in the News Feed."

Unfortunately for Zuckerberg, while Facebook’s community standards take aim at fake and satirical news by reducing its distribution, these posts still went viral.