Facebook is working to combat its fake news problem. The social networking site announced Thursday that they plan on making it even easier for users to flag fake news stories and hoaxes, in addition to using third-party sites for fact checking.
“We believe in giving people a voice and that we cannot become arbiters of truth ourselves, so we’re approaching this problem carefully,” according to their news release. “We’ve focused our efforts on the worst of the worst, on the clear hoaxes spread by spammers for their own gain, and on engaging both our community and third party organizations.”
Some of the steps Facebook is taking include:
- Easier Reporting
- Flagging Stories with a “Disputed by Third Party Fact-Checkers” tag
- Informed Sharing
- Taking the Financial Gain Away from Spammers
These steps include refocused efforts to stop the spread of fake news articles on the platform, which has dramatically increased in recent months. After firing their human editors, who curated and vetted stories in the Trending section, fake news and hoaxes that had gained popularity began trending because only an algorithm was in place. The Washington Post noted in October that Facebook hadn’t yet figured out how to close Pandora’s box.
Early plans for fighting fake stories include using third-party fact-checking organizations under Poynter’s International Fact Checking Code of Principles, such as Snopes and PolitiFact. The stories that are disputed will still appear in users’ feeds, however, they may appear lower and a warning will appear if a user attempts to share it. They also intend on reducing the financial incentives to spammers who “masquerade” as genuine sources of information by eliminating the ability to spoof domains and necessitating policy enforcement.
The updates are important, given that more than 40 percent of U.S. adults get their news from Facebook. As the new features are tested, Facebook will update over time to ensure “the stories you see on Facebook are authentic and meaningful.”
What are your thoughts on Facebook’s plans to fight fake news and hoaxes? Sound off in the comments section below!
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