(CitizensOutpost) Facebook has started its effort in flagging articles as fake news. In its own words, Facebook calls it: “disputed” news.
This is essentially a warning label that gets slapped on select articles that they deem has no factual basis. Although it is not entirely clear the algorithm or method for detecting the so called “disputed” news, there have been indications that fact check websites (e.g. Snopes, FactCheck.org) have been consulted as third parties to verify news links.
The giant social network first indicated the roll out of this “disputed” tag in December. Over the weekend, it finally made its debut in the U.S.
BuzzFeed News found that people who say they rely on Facebook as a major source of news were more likely to believe politically slanted fake news stories. An earlier BuzzFeed News analysis found that top-performing fake news articles on the election generated more engagement on Facebook than articles from major news outlets in the last months of the presidential campaign.
Fake news creates significant public confusion about current events with nearly one-fourth of Americans saying they have shared a fake news story, according to a Pew Research Center survey.
How an article gets flagged:
To flag a fake news article, users click on the upper right hand corner of a post. Facebook says its algorithms are also rooting out fake articles.
News articles flagged by users will be sent to third-party fact-checking organizations that are part of Poynter’s International Fact Checking Network, Facebook says. If the article is identified as fake by the fact-checking organizations, it will get flagged as “disputed” and there will be a link to an article explaining why. Stories that have been disputed will also get pushed down in News Feed.
Facebook users who try to share a disputed article are asked if they are sure they want to share it.
Although the overall premise of identifying fake or “disputed” news seems like a noble endeavor, it, like any other social media tool, is ripe for abuse. If it is up to internet trolling users and third party affiliates to decide what is real or fake, then the control of the internet news narrative goes out of the hand of the reader and into the hands of a newly created social media power structure.