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Facebook doesn't want to be the 'arbiter of the truth', top exec Sheryl Sandberg says, amid fake news criticism

  • Facebook chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg said the company is not a publisher amid criticism that it hasn't done enough to stop fake news on its platform.
  • Sandberg said Facebook takes its responsibility of tackling fake news "very seriously".

Facebook does not want to be the "arbiter of the truth", Sheryl Sandberg, a top executive at the social networking giant said, adding that the company does not see itself as a publisher.

The U.S. technology firm has been accused of not dealing with fake news articles posted on its platform. Facebook has taken a number of steps to tackle fake news including a campaign to help people spot any false articles.

"We are really a platform and we take our responsibilities on false news very seriously. False news hurts everyone because it makes our community uninformed, it hurts our community, it hurts countries. And we know that people want to see accurate news on Facebook and that's what we want them to see," Sandberg, who is chief operating officer at Facebook, told the BBC in an interview scheduled to be broadcast on Monday.

Sheryl Sandberg
Michael Newberg | CNBC
Sheryl Sandberg

Some commentators have said that Facebook is essentially a publisher and should act more responsibly to take down rogue content on its platform.

"They can't just say look we're a technology company, we have nothing to do with the content that is appearing on our digital pages," WPP CEO Martin Sorrell, told CNBC in a recent interview, talking about both Facebook and Google.

But Facebook has rejected such a notion and said that is not the role it should play.

"I don't think we have to be the publisher and we definitely don't want to be the arbiter of the truth," Sandberg said. "We don't think that's appropriate for us. We think everyone needs to do their part. Newsrooms have to do their part, media companies, classrooms and technology companies."

"Well, 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. But we know the goal, the goal is for people to see accurate information on Facebook and everywhere else."