After a series of hoax websites spreading misleading information on the internet made it to the front page of Google, the European Commission urged major social media companies to take all measures necessary in order to successfully eradicate fake news from their platforms.
While the first attempts have been so far shrouded in mystery, Facebook is making public its method of dealing with the wave of false information circulating freely on the Internet.
Facebook Fights Back
According to an official announcement made by the company on Thursday, December 15th, Facebook is going to flag misleading reports with the help of its users and third-party fact-checkers. The Guardian says that Facebook will allow users to mark stories that come off as conspicuous. The social media engineers will then analyze the reports, and if the information has been flagged as fake by multiple users, the platform will redirect the articles to a third-party organization. The latter will then fact-check the articles against reliable sources and actual reports.
If the information proves irrelevant, Facebook will publicly flag the article as “disputed by 3rd party fact-checkers” every time it surfaces on social media sites. Nevertheless, the users will still be able to share the story. However, by clicking on the article, the users will see why the report has been flagged as unreliable. If they wish to proceed and share the article, Facebook will issue a final warning in regard to the story’s truthfulness.
Facebook’s Collaboration with Third-Party Organizations
According to the company, the disputed stories will also appear lower in the newsfeed. Moreover, rumors say that the fact-checking companies will not be paid for their contribution. The third-party organizations Facebook is reportedly going to work with are ABC News, Politifact, AP, Snopes, and FactCheck.org.
In the process of getting rid of fake news, Facebook is also aiming to reduce the financial incentives that promote the creation of multiple websites that thrive on misleading the broad public. One measure focuses on making it harder for such websites to replicate legitimate domains.
In a written statement posted on his official Facebook profile, Mark Zuckerberg announces the change and also admits that social media has a ”greater responsibility” to the public other than being a tech company.
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