Facebook to introduce tools to combat fake news
Dec 16 2016
Facebook has said it will introduce tools to prevent fake news stories from spreading on its platform, following rising criticism it did not do enough to combat the problem during the lead-up to the US presidential election.
The social network company has faced controversies throughout the year involving its monitoring and policing of content produced by its 1.8 billion users.
Facebook said users will find it easier to flag fake articles on their news feed as a hoax, and it will work with organisations, such as fact-checking website Snopes, to check the authenticity of stories.
If such organisations identify a story as fake, Facebook said it will be flagged as “disputed” and be linked to the corresponding article explaining why.
The company said disputed stories may appear lower in its news feed, adding once a story is flagged, it cannot be promoted.
But Facebook said it was “approaching this problem carefully”.
“We believe in giving people a voice and that we cannot become arbiters of truth ourselves,” its news feed vice-president Adam Mosseri said in a statement.
It stressed the new features were part of an ongoing process to refine and test how it deals with fake news.
“We’re going to keep working on this problem for as long as it takes to get it right,” Mr Mosseri said.
The new tools come weeks after chief executive Mark Zuckerberg said it was a “crazy idea” fake or misleading news on Facebook helped swing the election in favour of Republican Donald Trump.
The criticism has persisted, amid reports people in the US and other countries have been deliberately producing sensational hoaxes meant to appeal to conservatives that were often more widely read than news reported by major media organisations.
Ahead of the November 8 election, Facebook users saw fake news reports saying Pope Francis endorsed Mr Trump and a federal agent who had been investigating Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton was found dead.
Previously, the company has relied mostly on users to report offensive posts, which are then checked by Facebook employees against the company’s “community standards”.