In the last couple months, there has been rising concern over the propagation of fake news. Demand was rising for Facebook to figure out a way to filter through the legitimate and illegitimate news spread on the website. Pew Research Center discovered that almost half of all American adults get their news on Facebook. The research journal revealed, “Two-thirds of Facebook users access news on the social platform, and with 67 percent of U.S. adults active on Facebook, that translates to 44 percent of the overall U.S. population which accesses news on the social platform.”
Because of the way American adults consume news on Facebook, the social networking site decided to work on the problem of fake news. Facebook reported that they designed “a series of measures” to help users distinguish between real and fake news. The measures fall into four categories, but these are just the first steps towards addressing the problem.
Facebook is trying to make it easier to report fake news by allowing users to click the upper right-hand corner of a post.
Flagging Stories as Disputed
Facebook believes that “providing more context can help people decide for themselves what to trust and what to share.” They signed with a third-party fact-checking organization that has a contract with Poynter’s International Fact Checking Code of Principles. If a story is identified as fake, it will get flagged and a link will be added explaining why. The stories can still be shared but with a warning.
The social network plans to pay more attention to articles that seem to be outliers and if they are less likely to be shared. This information could alert Facebook of something misleading.
Disrupting Financial Incentives for Spammers
Facebook is trying to take away the financial incentive to post fake news. Facebook stated, “On the buying side we’ve eliminated the ability to spoof domains, which will reduce the prevalence of sites that pretend to be real publications. On the publisher side, we are analyzing publisher sites to detect where policy enforcement actions might be necessary.”
Unfortunately, there has already been a lot of mixed reactions to Facebook’s initiative. Conservative commentators argued that the fact checking organization is biased towards liberals.