Facebook is attempting to rectify its fake news distribution issue, which played a notorious part in the recent American election, by partnering with various prominent fact-checking organizations and debuting other user-driven anti-hoax tools.
“We believe in giving people a voice and that we cannot become arbiters of truth ourselves, so we’re approaching this problem carefully,” writes the company in a blog post. “We’ve focused our efforts on the worst of the worst, on the clear hoaxes spread by spammers for their own gain, and on engaging both our community and third party organizations.”
To combat hoax news, Facebook has partnered with fact-checking organizations that are signatories of Poynter’s International Fact Checking Code if Principles. The company plans to send stories that have been reported by the community (or are otherwise suspicious) to those organizations, which currently comprise Snopes, Politifact, ABC News and FactCheck.org, and if the story is identified as fake, it will be flagged as ‘disputed.’
Users who see the stories appear in their feed will also see a banner that states that the article is “disputed by third party fact-checkers” which can be clicked on for added context. Those stories may also appear lower in the news feed and before users share the story, they will get a warning that it has been identified as factually incorrect.
Additionally, Facebook says it is testing ways to make it easier for users to report a hoax and is attempting to make it more difficult for spam news to benefit financially by eliminating the ability to spoof domains and analyzing publisher sites in order to plan its next steps.
The platform is also testing out the use of a new metric. Facebook says that if reading an article makes users significantly less likely to share it, then that’s a strong sign that the story was misleading, and plans to explore the inclusion of that signal into the overall ranking of an article.
Along with the post, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg posted his own thoughts on the issue, stating: “With any changes we make, we must fight to give all people a voice and resist the path of becoming arbiters of truth ourselves. I believe we can build a more informed community and uphold these principles.”