Facebook Inc. (FB.O) will introduce new features to prevent fake news stories from spreading on its platform as part of an ongoing process to refine and test how it deals with fake news, a role that Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg shunned a month ago, by rolling out steps to weed out the “the worst of the worst,”.
Facebook will ask users to flag fake articles and Facebook users will find it easier to flag false information on News Feed as a hoax by clicking upper right hand corner of a post and choosing one of four reasons they want to flag it — from “It’s spam” to “It’s a fake news story.”, under the new improvement process, if a link attracts enough fake news reports or complaints, Facebook will send it to fact-checking groups.
“We’re trying to focus on the worst of the worst, the bottom of the barrel here”
said Adam Mosseri, Facebook’s vice president in charge of Facebook’s News Feed, said in a blog post.
“If the fact-checking organizations identify a story as fake”
“it will get flagged as disputed and there will be a link to the corresponding article explaining why. Stories that have been disputed may also appear lower in News Feed.”
Mosseri said. If a fact checker determines articles are untrue, it will be tagged with an alert message saying it’s been “disputed by 3rd party fact-checkers.”
“It will still be possible to share these stories, but you will see a warning that the story has been disputed as you share.”
The flagged story will also be rejected if anyone tries to turn it into a promoted ad, Facebook says.
Facebook also has identified several markers of sites that consistently peddle such fake news, and it will demote posts from those sites in people’s news feeds.
Facebook also outsourcing the delicate task of determining whether individual stories are true or false to a few external third-party organizations who have signed on to Poynter’s International Fact Checking Code of Principles such as Snopes, ABC News and Associated Press, then tweaking Facebook’s news feed algorithm based on their rulings.
It will be up to those organizations to determine whether or not to fact-check them
“For PolitiFact, our intention is to focus only on posts that we believe to be false or highly misleading,”
said Aaron Sharockman, PolitiFact‘s executive director, in an email. PolitiFact rates the truthfulness of stories on a six-point scale ranging from “True” to “Pants on Fire.” PolitiFact will focus on flagging Facebook posts that fall closer to the latter, Mr. Sharockman said.
“Our goal is to reduce these hoaxes just like we fight other scams on our platform, but I want us to be especially careful about never being arbiters of truth ourselves—which is why we’re working with third-party fact-checkers,”
“We’ll keep looking for unbiased third parties to add to our list of reviewers.”
Mr. Zuckerberg said.
Facebook also is testing a metric called “informed sharing” to monitors which stories users share much less frequently than average,
“If reading an article makes you significantly less likely to share it, that’s a sign that you were misled in some way,”
Mr. Mosseri said.
Facebook is also trying to identify fake-news sites that masquerade as legitimate news organizations to limit their ability to generate traffic and ad revenue from Facebook. If a link on Facebook redirects user to several different pages or winds up on a home page that is largely ads, it is likely a spam network instead of real news organization, Mr. Mosseri said. Facebook could then curb the distribution of those pages in the news feed. Facebook says it has
“found that a lot of fake news is financially motivated”
“On the buying side we’ve eliminated the ability to spoof domains, which will reduce the prevalence of sites that pretend to be real publications,”
“On the publisher side, we are analyzing publisher sites to detect where policy enforcement actions might be necessary.”
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