Facebook just dropped its Form 10-K, allowing us a detailed glimpse into the company’s performance and potential business pitfalls. As is typical of such filings, the social media giant acknowledges the risks it faces, among them that the distribution of potentially false and perhaps even defamatory content could hurt Facebook’s bottom line.
When describing potential liabilities on the platform, it writes that it faces claims of content “related to defamation, dissemination of misinformation or news hoaxes,” that could put the company at risk. Specifically, countries (unlike the US) that have different laws which could put the onus on Facebook for regulating this kind of content are seen as an unforeseen risk.
We need look no further than Germany which sought to fine Facebook for content it pushes that is considered false. It’s unlikely this fake news problem will actually hinder Facebook’s performance, but definitely interesting that the social network is taking seriously its impact on its long-term growth.