Following the American elections, the American public had come after Facebook on the issue of fake news, with claims that it had enabled Donald Trump to win at the polls. The social media site had promised to do better.
Facebook had announced a renewed commitment to tackle the problem of fake news but the entire world had been left to wonder how exactly the social media giant would do that.
On Wednesday, facebook unveiled a new feature that forms a part of its attempt to curb fake news and it will involve Facebook users to a great extent. To combat the fake news problem, Facebook wants to allow its users to rank a news article based on whether it contains deceptive phrasing.
Basically, if a news article appears on the wall of a Facebook user, a bar may appear below asking the user to rank the headline for what Facebook terms “misleading language,” which will be graded on a five-point scale, ranging from “Not at all” to “Completely.”
There is still a big space for questions on how the feature will help distinguish between articles that are completely false and articles that merely have exaggerated headlines. Both are problematic, but one obviously does more damage than the other.
A Facebook spokesperson who talked to TechCrunch confirmed that the feature is an “official effort” but provided no additional details on how it works. The introduction of the feature shows that CEO Mark Zuckerberg, who at first argued that the company should distance itself from verifying news stories, is taking his later commitment to experiment new features to stop the malaise.
This new feature will add to an existing means of dealing with fake news on Facebook which involved users manually reporting a story as false by clicking on the top-right of a specific post in the News Feed.
These two measures still leave most of the work to Facebook users and some people do not consider it enough.
There are suggestions that Facebook should take bolder steps like allowing third parties to devise their own algorithms users can choose from. As the conversations continue on what Facebook should or should not do, researchers are trying to develop artificial intelligence tools that can detect trustworthiness.