Facebook Introduces Option Of Flagging News Hoax
You all have come across news stories on social media that have spread further and faster as compared to standard news channels. Whether they include Prince George’s latest photo shoot, or Sony’s hack attack, you would know about it before you turn to switch your news channel on.
But while it looks beneficial, it can be misleading as well. A lot of mischievous sites thrive on spreading false news to entice users towards their sites, to increase traffic.
To deal with this rising issue, enters Facebook. Facebook is now trying to give users the authority to determine whether a news is a hoax or not, by introducing the option to its platform to let users flag news stories as hoaxes.
In a blog post this Tuesday, the company explained that you’ll be shown the option to report a news story as “false” the same way you report a post for inappropriate content: by hiding the news from your News Feed.
Facebook says that the more times a post is flagged as false, the less often it will show up in News Feeds. However, it won’t delete heavily flagged posts, but stamp the post with up with a disclaimer: “Many people on Facebook have reported that this story contains false information.”
“Stories that include scams, or deliberately misleading news, are reported two and a half times more often than links to other news stories,” Facebook engineer Erich Owens and researcher Udi Weinsberg wrote.
As Facebook continues to establish itself as a driver of traffic to online publishers’ sites, numerous clickbait mills have sprouted to earn ad dollars. This will also the reduce such a problem, which Google also faced a few years ago when content farms enabled users’ top results with low quality links. However, in case of Facebook, users themselves are the cause of the spread of the fake news.
One way to fight the spread of falsehood is to take Facebook’s approach and turn the dial down on how often such stories show up for users. But the problem is that the News Feed is not neutral, what posts I see on my News Feed might not be seen even on your friends of friends’ News Feed.
However, if you solely rely on social media to gather news, you’re to blame partly as well, as you would never be getting the whole story which would lead to more misunderstandings and hoaxes.