Facebook wants to rid its network of fake news, and is doing all it can to make sure it succeeds. The new tool, according TNW, will prevent page administrators from editing the featured image, headline and description on shared links.
Citing a source familiar with the matter, the report adds that the editing capabilities of the new tool will enable media outlets, brands, and journalists to make articles more appealing to their audience. The implication of this is that, pages will no longer be able to “put their own twist” on breaking news.
For now, it’s still a small test, but could set the tone for how Facebook handles fake news in the coming weeks.
Last December, Facebook teamed up with Snopes, FactCheck.org, Politifact and ABC News to fight fake news. The goal is to make fake news less visible to people. By appending warnings from fact checkers to fake news feed, spammers and those who benefit from reporting hoaxes will no longer enjoy a free reign on the platform.
Facebook’s objective is quite clear—it wants to deal specifically with clear hoaxes; those articles shared intentionally to make money, but are also hoaxes. Ultimately, it’s not every story that will be affected as the company seeks to identify those that are posted by spammers.
Facebook will refer to fact-checking services that comply with Poynter’s International Fact-Checking Network fact-checkers’ code of conduct to warn readers of fake news articles flagged by algorithms and users themselves. Articles will be screened based on fairness, non-partisanship, funding, methodology, and transparency of sources.
If all four partners confirm a story as fake, Facebook will be informed through a special reporting website built exclusively for them by the social media behemoth. This will be swiftly followed by showing of those links in the lower News Feed. The social media giant will also attach a warning label noting “Disputed by [one or more of the fact checkers]” with a link to the debunking post on News Feed stories as well as in the status composer, especially when a user is about to share the controversial link. Furthermore, Facebook will also prevent such stories from being turned into ads.
Prior to the last election in France, the social media giant launched a fake news filter in the European country. To a large extent, this measure worked to combat the menace; helping the French elect their leader without undue influence from people spreading fake news.
Similar tool will also be used for the forthcoming elections in Germany. The fake news filter will tag such news stories as “disputed” and accord them lesser priority on users’ news feeds when reputable news organizations flag them as false.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel recently alerted her country’s parliament to the dangers of fake news and bots, and how they can influence this year’s election. In a speech to the parliament shortly after declaring her intention to contest the coming election, Merkel said fake news and bots have “manipulated” public opinion online. She therefore urged the lawmakers to “confront this phenomenon and if necessary, regulate it.”