Social media site Facebook has been at the forefront of the recent fake news ‘scandal’ that has seen some of the world’s largest media platforms circulating false news. Now, it has shared details on how it plans to tackle the issue.
The issue of fake news stories first came to light back in the autumn and was one that Facebook has reportedly fixed by making some alterations to its algorithms. However, it is a problem that just won’t go away for the company. The extent of the issue has now become so big, that the platform was accused of circulating fake news that may have influenced the result of the US Presidential election in November, a claim which Facebook CEO and co-founder Mark Zuckerberg strongly denies.
Furthermore, the problem has been around for a long time, yet no solution has been put forward by the company until now. Even a group of students were able to come up with a method of fixing the problem in just one day.
Despite this, Facebook has now revealed plans on how it will tackle the issue. In a blog post, Facebook’s VP of Product for News Feed, Adam Mosseri, stated that the site will be introducing easier ways for users to report hoaxes and fake news stories after the company has started to collaborate with several third-party fact-checking firms.
This is a method that Google has also resorted to in the past month and seems like a logical step for Facebook, the world’s largest social networking site, to take. These firms will fact check the content that appears on Facebook and report articles and sources that are found to be unreliable. Facebook will then flag the source as ‘disputed’, explaining to the source why this is. These sources will then appear lower down in a user’s news feed.
In terms of reporting fake news stories, a user will be able to click on the top right hand corner of a post, where there is a drop down arrow. Users can then click on the ‘report post’ option, which will then take them to a new page. Here, reporting the post as a fake news story will become an option, then users will be asked what they want to do about it. The options are set to be ‘block the source’, ‘message the source’ and ‘mark this as a fake news story’. Facebook will then take the appropriate action against the news source.
In the post, Facebook does point out that it relies heavily on its community, which has around 1.6 billion users, for help on the issue and to aid in detecting any issues with content on the site, or the general functionality of it. It also adds that it is important to the company to provide its users with meaningful and authentic news content.
The company has highlighted that the sources that are promoting these fake news stories are often motivated by money and other intrinsic rewards, and that they pretend to be established news sources to gain extra traffic to their websites.