On November 19, 2016, just weeks after the presidential election, President Obama was so concerned about the Russians using fake news to influence U.S. elections that he personally talked to Zuckerberg about it, reveals the Washington Post:
Now huddled in a private room on the sidelines of a meeting of world leaders in Lima, Peru, two months before Trump’s inauguration, Obama made a personal appeal to Zuckerberg to take the threat of fake news and political disinformation seriously. Unless Facebook and the government did more to address the threat, Obama warned, it would only get worse in the next presidential race.
Zuckerberg acknowledged the problem posed by fake news. But he told Obama that those messages weren’t widespread on Facebook and that there was no easy remedy, according to people briefed on the exchange, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to share details of a private conversation.
What’s more, the Washington Post’s article also reveals that Facebook first detected signs the Russian were using the service to manipulate the election back in June 2016 and notified the FBI about it. If the Post’s sources are accurate, that means Facebook knew about the Russian hacking before the DNC.