Facebook has quietly rolled out its long-awaited solution to fake news
07 March, 2017, 00:33
Facebook has launched its much-anticipated crackdown on fake news in the United States, tagging as "disputed" stories that are deemed false by fact-checking organisations.
In response to the many shady articles posing as journalism that proliferated across Facebook previous year, the social media giant has presented a new feature that will mark suspicious-looking shared articles.
"We have a responsibility to reduce the spread of fake news on our platform", Adam Mosseri, Facebook's vice president of product development, told The Washington Post at the time.
Finally, fake news is dead.
The tool is not yet available to all Facebook users.
The process for an article circulated on Facebook to be given the "disputed" tag begins when users send in reports regarding the story or if the software that Facebook uses catches the article. Flagged stories can not be promoted or turned into advertisements. Aside from public pressure (and, Zuckerberg's new resolve to create a platform "for keeping us safe, for informing us, for civic engagement, and for inclusion of all"), Facebook has little business incentive to police its news feed. This is up from 47 percent in 2013.
Disrupting fake news economics: They are looking into disrupting the economics with ads policies and better ad farm detection. Seeing an opportunity to capitalize on the interest in the presidential election, predatory publishers drove significant traffic to their sites with fake articles on anything from Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton's supposed ill health to rumors that now-President Donald Trump's tax returns had leaked. In the next box that shows up click "It's a fake news story" and then click "Mark this post as fake news".
Hopefully Facebook will be able to further improve its flagging system in the near future so that it will have a bigger impact on the prevention of fake news in the social network.
While Snopes points out that the website is not a legitimate news outlet, it also notes there is misinformation in the piece.
Facebook has not released information about the tagging system's release in other regions.
"Who are these people that will be deciding what is relevant and what is not to the largest social media site in the world?"
In the end, Facebook's solution seems to be a solid compromise that will leave both fact-checkers and free speech absolutists unsatisfied. The fact-checkers must agree to be nonpartisan and to be transparent about their sources of funding as well as information sources.
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