Facebook Says Satirical Sites Contain Satire
Facebook has always been playing the good cop, bad cop with users. But lately, it finds pleasure being the bad cop, controlling what is on our News Feed, recording our emotions for a study and what not. The recent revelation that Facebook is conducting an “experiment” where it adds a ‘[Satire]’ tag next to any satirical link on the website, has sparked a plethora of mixed emotions by users.
Where our news feeds are full of images and videos of depressing news around the world, one finds pleasure going through satirical news for a change and a laugh. Satirical news means the genre of writing in these articles is irony, ridicule, humor and sarcasm. Mostly, readers resort to The Onion, a leading satirical news platform, and share links on Facebook of those articles.
If you are an NFL player who can distinguish between reality and sarcasm and find “Roger Goodell To NFL Players: ‘Murdering Your Wife Will Result In Automatic 4-Game Suspension’ ” in your news feed, you will proceed to read this news for the sake of fun, not out of fear of a 4-game suspension. That’s how capable the human mind is naturally.
However, Facebook believes otherwise. Links from The Onion appearing on Facebook have the tag “[Satire]” appended before the title, apparently warning the reader that the article contains satire. Oddly, this tagging spree only appears in some places, like in the “related articles” box.
The original title of the Onion link on your News Feed will not contain the tag, however, once you click on the link and return back to your browser, a list of “related articles” will be displayed below the link that you opened. At least one of these related articles will belong to the same site, The Onion in this case. Any Onion article in this list will have the tag appended to its title.
What is the mystery behind tagging JUST the related articles? Original posts from the site and The Onion‘s official Facebook page do not have a tag stamped to them. If users save the article to a read-later list, the tag will vanish as well. And only The Onion seems their core target, because other satiric sites like Clickhole are immune to the tag.
While many users have found this initiative an utter disgrace to their intelligence, there are still users who end up believing the satirical news to be true, something that an entire website has been dedicated to – the Literally Unbelievable.
To calm the uprising which believes “Facebook thinks users are dumb,” Facebook has released a statement (via Ars Technica):
“We are running a small test which shows the text ‘[Satire]’ in front of links to satirical articles in the related articles unit in News Feed. This is because we received feedback that people wanted a clearer way to distinguish satirical articles from others in these units.”