Most people receive at least some form of news from their Facebook feed. That’s great, because it can be posted, read and shared very quickly.
[Facebook will] investigate and flag the story as fake news, if they deem it so. Facebook will also use “updated machine learning” to detect potential hoax stories.
Unfortunately, misinformation, also spreads rapidly through the platform. Due to this ongoing problem, Facebook will now employ a team of fact checkers to search for fake news, and publish their findings online.
This bold move is a response from the social media site after it experienced widespread criticism from around the globe for not doing enough to combat the issue of hoax news stories on its platform.
According to the BBC, the online giant has also recently launched a new feature in four countries that will publish alternative news links beneath problematic articles. Facebook states that their new “related articles” feature will post reliable alternative links beneath potentially fake stories, so the audience can make up their own minds. This feature will be rolled out globally in due course.
Does Facebook Go Far Enough in Fighting Fake News?
However, critics have said that the new measures don’t go far enough to combat the issue of fake news, and still allow these stories to educate the public with false information.
“Presenting audiences with context is helpful,” Tom Felle, a senior lecturer in digital journalism at City University, told the BBC.
“But it does nothing to stop the spread of this material, or to stop traffic going to fake news peddlers who are making money out of creating this material.”
Facebook has been cited, by many organizations in the United States, as having part in swaying the 2016 presidential election. Informing the public with realistic fabrications, which they are likely to believe, greatly influences their decision-making process. Experts say the fake news epidemic is a huge issue that will continue to impact major outcomes if not resolved.
In France, during their last presidential elections, users were also bombarded with what many call fake news, and again this was attributed to helping sway the presidential vote.
According to the BBC, Facebook has been reluctant to take down so-called “fake news” stories, arguing that it doesn’t want to be an “arbiter of truth”. Other critics have claimed that what is sometimes classified as fake news, by government organizations, isn’t in fact fake news at all. Instead these groups wish to categorize these stories as such to simply discredit the source. The term has become so widespread that it is being used frequently by both sides.
Facebook’s new system will identify potential false stories through a mixture of user detection and artificial intelligence (AI). The stories are then sent to the fact-checkers who will investigate and flag the story as fake news, if they deem it so. Facebook will also use “updated machine learning” to detect potential hoax stories.
“If an article has been reviewed by fact checkers, we may show the fact-checking stories below the original post,” states Sara Su, product manager of Facebook’s News Feed.
Meanwhile, Tom Felle feels that if Facebook really wants to stop fake news, they will need to back the news industry in a more effective and helpful manner.
“If Facebook wants to help journalism it needs to put its hand in its pocket and support quality, trusted news organizations to better reach audiences, and advertisers,” he concluded.