Facebook is having a mea culpa moment — well, sort of.
In a post entitled: “News Feed FYI: Addressing Hoaxes and Fake News,” the social media site has rolled out updates that fall into four areas that will help identify fake stories. They fall under the categories of Easier Reporting, Flagging Stories as Disputed, Informed Sharing and Disrupting Financial Incentives for Spammers.
The company said it is testing several ways to make it “easier to report a hoax” when it’s identified on Facebook. One way is by relying on users, who will now be able to click the upper right hand corner of a post and flag it as fake.
In order to provide context to users, Facebook has started a program to work with third-party fact-checking organizations, such as Poynter‘s International Fact-Checking Network.
“We’ll use the reports from our community, along with other signals, to send stories to these organizations. 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,” Facebook said.
Even if a story is identified as “fake,” it will still be possible to share these stories, but they will be tagged with a warning that it has “been disputed.”
On the bright side, those stories cannot be made into an ad and promoted.
The company also said that in order to improve its News Feed, it will test if a story is shared after users read it — especially for “articles that are outliers.” An outlier is defined as a story “where people who read the article are significantly less likely to share it.”
Lastly, Facebook is reducing financial incentives, as it finds that fake news is “financially motivated” by “spammers masquerading as well-known news organizations.”
This will be accomplished by eliminating the “ability to spoof domains, which will reduce the prevalence of sites that pretend to be real publications” on the buying side. On the publisher side, Facebook said it is “analyzing publisher sites to detect where policy enforcement actions might be necessary.”
The company signed off the memo, offering: “It’s important to us that the stories you see on Facebook are authentic and meaningful.”