Facebook Is Finally Doing Something About Fake News

Facebook Mark Zuckerberg

After the shocking results of this year’s United States Presidential Election, many were quick to demonize Facebook for helping disseminate fake news. The social network was quick to deny that its platform had any sway on the election, but news pundits (and anyone with a brain) saw the massive effect fake news being spread across social media.

Well, Facebook is finally owning up to its duty to stop the spread of fake news. Today, the company announced new tools and protocols that it thinks will help curb the spread of fake news. Here’s Facebook’s plan.

Reporting Fake News is Now Easier

Previously, it was difficult to report false news and hoaxes. Today’s Facebook update adds option to directly report fake news and hoaxes from a drop down menu in the News Feed. After reporting fake news, users have the option to mark the post as fake news, message your friend who shared the news to let him or her know what and idiot they are, and the ability to block the person who shared the fake story.

Facebook will also analyze user behavior to see why certain stories have been read but not shared. This is just one of the signals that the social network is analyzing to see how to better spot fake news.

Working with fact checkers

Facebook news fact checkingIn addition to the new reporting tools, Facebook is working with third-party fact checking organizations to flag fake news. The organizations will follow Poynter’s International Fact-Checking code of principles.

Combined with the community reports and “other signals,” Facebook will send flagged stories to these fact-checking organizations for review. Suspected fake news will be flagged and offer an explanation about why it’s being disputed.

Flagged stories will be clearly marked in the News Feed and users will be given a warning if they attempt to share it. Users can still share a disputed story by ignoring the warning.

More worryingly for advertisers, once a story is flagged, it cannot be promoted or made into an ad. It’ll be interesting to see how Facebook deals with false positives.

Hitting fake news sites where it hurts: the wallet

Fake news is lucrative. Just look at the many fake news organizations that are pulling in thousands of dollars in ad money every day. For example, The Washington Post interviewed a man responsible for one fake news site who claimed he was raking in $10,000 per day from AdSense.

Starting today, Facebook has eliminated the ability to spoof domains, which means it will be harder for fake news sites to mask themselves as legitimate news sources. Facebook will also work with publishers to analyze “where policy enforcement actions might be necessary.”

“It’s important to us that the stories you see on Facebook are authentic and meaningful,” writes Facebook in a blog post. “We’re excited about this progress, but we know there’s more to be done. We’re going to keep working on this problem for as long as it takes to get it right.”

Source: Facebook

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