Facebook to Crack Down on Fake News Stories
One of the worst parts of the Facebook experience is being bombarded with the various fake news stories shared by your friends (okay, your parents and that weird guy you roomed with for six months in college). But fear not, Facebookers! The company has announced that there will be new tools at your disposal to report hoaxes and bogus news posts that clog up your feed.
When you flag a post as a hoax, Facebook will start to pay closer attention as the number of times that flag’s been applied increases:
“To reduce the number of these types of posts, News Feed will take into account when many people flag a post as false. News Feed will also take into account when many people choose to delete posts. This means a post with a link to an article that many people have reported as a hoax or chosen to delete will get reduced distribution in News Feed. This update will apply to posts including links, photos, videos and status updates.
Posts that receive lots of reports will be annotated with a message warning people that many others on Facebook have reported it.”
It isn’t much more complicated than that, though. Facebook itself won’t be going in and changing content – but the company will make sure that fewer people are hoodwinked by bullshit stories. You know, like the one about the gas pump that gives you AIDS or whatever.
Yes, I have seen that on my news feed. Oh, what a sad day that was.
However, Facebook clarified that satirical posts, like those from The Onion, likely won’t be affected by the new tools since readers tend not to flag them as spam or hoaxes. On the flip side, it will be interesting to see how this new tool plays out when people on either side of the political divide start to flag posts slanted to one side or the other. And what about those crazy anti-vaxxer posts? Can I flag those as hoaxes, since the anti-vax movement in and of itself is bunk?
Let’s see what happens as this new feature rolls out and users start to click those buttons.