3 MINUTE READ | December 6, 2016
Facebook Fake News
There’s been some controversy over Facebook’s responsibility in content that is shared within their newsfeed. Do they serve as merely a platform to distribute information or do they have a greater duty in ensuring what is shared is accurate?
This conversation has been going on for quite some time but the issue was amplified during this year’s election. “Fake” news stories about candidates were being shared more frequently than “real” news stories. People have also criticized the frequency of made-up headlines on Facebook, arguing that this swayed the election.
While distorting reality is not Facebook’s goal, Mark Zuckerberg said it’s difficult to determine what is fake and what to do about it because they, “believe in giving people a voice, which means erring on the side of letting people share what they want whenever possible.” Freedom of speech and opinion is important however leaving people misinformed is a huge issue as well.
Mr. Zuckerberg wants to maintain the freedom of sharing information and others have agreed it would be concerning for Facebook to decide what is legitimate news and what should be hidden from users. Despite this, however, Facebook said it will stop serving ads to sites it decides are misleading or deceptive. They would also be taking steps to minimize this issue in the future; which might include:
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– Stronger detection. The most important thing we can do is improve our ability to classify misinformation. This means better technical systems to detect what people will flag as false before they do it themselves.– Easy reporting. Making it much easier for people to report stories as fake will help us catch more misinformation faster. – Third party verification. There are many respected fact checking organizations and, while we have reached out to some, we plan to learn from many more. – Warnings. We are exploring labeling stories that have been flagged as false by third parties or our community, and showing warnings when people read or share them. – Related articles quality. We are raising the bar for stories that appear in related articles under links in News Feed. – Disrupting fake news economics. A lot of misinformation is driven by financially motivated spam. We’re looking into disrupting the economics with ads policies like the one we announced earlier this week, and better ad farm detection. – Listening. We will continue to work with journalists and others in the news industry to get their input, in particular, to better understand their fact checking systems and learn from them.
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