Facebook was under fire towards the end of November when an investigation by Buzzfeed News found out that there were people in Macedonia who were running publications that spewed fake news that might have had an impact on the US election.
The profound effect of fake news becoming viral on its platform and the resulting backlash from this occurrence made Facebook’s CEO, Mark Zuckerberg issue a statement. The statement involved the 7 steps the company will make to tackle this problem and the company yesterday outlined 4 of the steps that they will be working on.
First is Easier reporting which involves making it easier for users to report hoaxes they encounter in their feeds. All you need to do is to click on the upper right hand corner of a post and follow the prompts.
The next initiative is disrupting the financial incentives for spammers. Facebook found out that the reason why there is a lot of fake news being peddled on their platform is tied to the monetary gain through ad sales. The company now has removed the ability for sites to mask their domains which makes them pretend to be real publications. They are also analyzing publishers to see if they will enforce some policy actions.
Facebook has also started working with third party fact checking organizations where the company will combine reports from users and send these stories to the organizations. If they identify it as fake, these stories will be flagged as disputed and there will be a link to explain why. If you try sharing these stories, you will get a warning that they are disputed and for the publishers, these stories cannot be made promoted or made into an ad.
The last incentive is what the company refers to as informed sharing and it tackles the issue of clickbait. The company found out that if reading an article makes people significantly less likely to share it, it may be a sign that it misled them in a way, which is classic clickbait. This signal will be incorporated in ranking articles and could mean that you may see less click-baity articles on your News Feed