Facebook changing how it identifies 'fake news' stories
Thursday - 21/12/2017 12:46
Will demote articles that are factually incorrect
BRAGGING PLATFORM Facebook has announced two changes to its social media platform which it says will help in our fight against fake news.
The first of the changes will see the social network no longer using Disputed Flags to identify fake news and instead will use "Related Articles" to help "give people more context about the story".
Facebook said that the reasons for the change stem from academic research on correcting misinformation, which has proven that that putting a strong image, like a red flag, next to an article may actually entrench deeply held beliefs, the opposite effect to what we intended.
"Related Articles, by contrast, are simply designed to give more context, which our research has shown is a more effective way to help people get to the facts," the firm's Product Manager, Tessa Lyons, said in a company blog post. "Indeed, we've found that when we show Related Articles next to a false news story, it leads to fewer shares than when the Disputed Flag is shown"
The second change comes in the form of a new initiative to "better understand how people decide whether information is accurate or not, based on the news sources they depend upon".
Facebook said this will not directly impact News Feed in the near term, but it could help the firm better measure its success in improving the quality of information on the platform over time.
"False news [as Facebook calls it - LB] undermines the unique value that [we] offer: the ability for you to connect with family and friends in meaningful ways," said Lyons. "It's why we're investing in better technology and more people to help prevent the spread of misinformation."
Lyons added that Facebook believes it's making progress in this battle overall, by demoting fake news identified by its team of fact-checkers, which makes such articles lose about 80 percent of traffic.
"This destroys the economic incentives spammers and troll farms have to generate these articles in the first place," she concluded. µ