Facebook said it was prepared to fight the fake news problem that has taken over its platform, and now it’s putting some muscle behind that promise with new features that help users differentiate true from false.
Now when you spot a fake story being circulated in your News Feed, you can report it by clicking on the upper-right corner of the post and selecting “It’s a fake news story” as the reason you’re flagging it. Facebook will take those user-reported posts and run them by four third-party fact-checking organizations that abide by Poynter’s International Fact Checking Code of Principles: FactCheck.org, Snopes.com, Politifact, and ABC News. If those organizations determine that the story is fake, Facebook will mark it with a “disputed” tag.
“We’re trying to focus on the worst of the worst, the bottom of the barrel here,” Adam Mosseri, Facebook’s vice president of product who oversees the News Feed, told the Wall Street Journal.
People will still be able to share disputed stories, but Facebook will make it very clear that you’re distributing fake info with an additional warning before you post. You’ll have the option to cancel or continue, but then all your friends will know that you were informed that the story was false and proceeded anyway. How embarrassing.
The disputed tag will also prevent the money-grubbing sites behind those fake stories from promoting them in News Feeds or turning them into ads. Facebook said it’s “doing several things to reduce the financial incentives” of publishing fake news by removing the ability for companies to spoof domains, which makes them appear like legitimate news organizations.
Why this matters: Facebook’s fake news problem is real. Our friends at PCWorld did a real-world test to see who was more likely to be shown fake news, and found that Trump supporters were served up more fake news stories than Clinton voters. It’s unclear just how big of an effect those stories had on the election outcome, but Facebook has been heavily criticized for allowing fake news to run rampant. These new features are the company’s attempt to regulate content without appearing biased.