The Facebook news feed is a very powerful tool. Lately, that power has tended more towards being used for evil as fake news sites feed eager readers with propaganda or just plain lies.
The world had come down hard on the Facebook CEO to find new ways of tackling the issue of fake news sites and Mark Zuckerberg had finally promised that changes were coming in response to the criticism.
Despite the commitment to handling fake news sites, Facebook still has a very thin line to tow. Any sudden moves could see the social media giant tipping over and falling into the murky waters of selectively pushing news. Facebook’s vice president of product management, Adam Mosseri, says to that end;
“Fake news means different things to different people,”
“What we’re focused on is the worst of the worst. We’re not looking to get into the gray area of opinion.”
On Thursday, the company rolled out new features to select US users. The new features included options for readers and third-party fact checkers to flag articles, tweaking Facebook’s algorithm and providing more restrictions on advertising.
Facebook users will be able to flag content on the site as a “fake news story”, a feature that has already been previously announced. New to the docket though, is a feature where articles deemed false by Facebook’s partner, Poynter Institute’s International Fact Checking Network, will have a new tag attached: “Disputed by 3rd Party Fact-Checkers.”
The publishers of articles bearing that tag will no longer be able to promote these articles as Facebook paid ads. Facebook also intends to work with fact-checking outlets like Politifact, Snopes and FactCheck.org, and the Associated Press to identify articles as fake.
The company, however, stands strong on not taking the articles off the site altogether. Adam Mosseri says they simply intend to let people know “But you can still share it because we believe in giving people a voice.”
Facebook’s entire plan is to reduce the incentives, especially, financially for fake news sites. The less domains stand to gain from publishing fake news, the less chance they will go ahead and do so.