Facebook Plans To Stop ‘Fake News’

Side profile of a journalist typing on a typewriter

Facebook has laid out its plans to tackle fake news on the platform in a blog post from Facebook News Feed boss Adam Mosser. The plan follow months of criticism for its role in spreading intentionally deceptive stories during the US Presidential election.

“We believe in giving people a voice and that we cannot become arbiters of truth ourselves, so we’re approaching this problem carefully,” Mosser said. “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.”

Here are the big ideas:

  • Facebook will ask users to report fake news by clicking on a button at the top right of a story they think is dubious. It will also use its software to look for signs of fake news stories that are getting traction.
  • If Facebook thinks its users and/or its software have found a fake news story, it will ask a consortium of journalists to fact-check the story.
  • If the journalists think the story is bogus, Facebook will flag the story as “disputed by third-party fact-checkers.”
  • That “disputed” banner will be attached to the story within Facebook’s News Feed, and Facebook will tweak its algorithms to make sure “disputed” stories don’t get as much traction in the feed*.
  • And users who do want to share a “disputed” story will get a prompt asking them if they’re reallysure they want to share the story.
  • Facebook also says it will try to make it harder for publishers to profit by publishing fake news, though it is vague about what that will mean.

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