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Wikipedia snippets tested with Facebook search


Wikipedia snippets tested with Facebook search

Users of social media site Facebook have been starting to see Wikipedia Knowledge Panels appearing within the site’s search results, in a similar way to what search engine Google has been doing for years.

The social network has been testing the addition of these Wikipedia snippets within the results and this has been reported by many users. As shown in the below tweet from Matt Navara, these panels are reminiscent of the integration used by Google:

As shown in the above example of a search for ‘Donald Trump’ on Facebook, the search results have shown a panel on the right hand side that show the key stats and details about the search query. In this case, showing Trump’s name, date of birth and where he was educated, among other details.

Eagle-eyed users also noticed that apart from the link to the Wikipedia page where the information is pulled from, there is a solitary social media link, for Instagram, which is Facebook-owned. This contrasts to Google, which shows links to all social media profiles. This shows that Facebook is trying to keep people within the Facebook platform and its related tools and services as much as possible.

It is believed by some that Facebook has started to integrate these snippets in response to criticism it has received in recent times for its fact-checking policies, with critics demanding that the social site needs to do more to keep fake news and misinformation away from its platform. However, it could be seen as an opportunity for users to make their own decisions on fact-checking as Facebook is not updating its own policies, simply integrating a tool. It is common knowledge that Wikipedia entries are editable by anyone, leading to frequent cases of misinformation.

Facebook has integrated a button asking its users about the accuracy of the information provided in the snippets, with users able to click ‘yes’ or ‘no’ and provide a correction if they selected ‘no’.

As this is still in the test phase, it is not yet known how widely the feature has been rolled out, but it does appear to be running in English, on the desktop and iOS versions of the site.

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Alan Littler

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