Fake news is bad for everyone and Facebook has woken up to the fact that it’s bad for them as well.
Facebook say they are making significant investments to stop fake news from spreading and to promote high-quality journalism and news literacy.
Facebook’s New Strategy
- Remove accounts and content that violate the Community Standards or advertisement policies
- Reduce the distribution of fake news and inauthentic content, such as clickbait
- Inform people by giving them more context on the posts they see.
Fact-checking is a key part of the strategy to ensure that what you see on Facebook is accurate and from a trustworthy source. Facebook will make use of specialist third-party fact-checking organisations globally (approved by the International Fact-Checking Network).
These organisations work around the clock to help identify misleading content. When they flag something as being false, Facebook rank the story significantly lower in News Feed. On average, this reduces future views of the offending content by more than 80%. They’re also using the information provided by these fact-checkers to improve the technology to identify potential fake news articles even faster in the future.
Fake accounts violate Facebook policies, so, once they are spotted, they are deleted. If a Facebook Page violates the requirement that people use their real identities and not impersonate others, it will be taken down, eliminating all of the misleading content. They’re hiring more reviewers and developing new AI tools all the time to detect and deactivate fake accounts quicker than ever before.
Facebook use many signals to work out which articles are likely to be clickbait, spam or fake news. Anything determined to be disreputable is de-ranked. This means they appear much lower down in your News Feed and you are far less likely to see them. Facebook use machine learning to continually hone the algorithms to help spot fake news, seek it out and reduce your chance of seeing it. This means the things at the top of your News Feed are more likely to be reputable, trustworthy and things you want to see.
Background Information on Articles and Publishers
Facebook will give you background information about the content in your News Feed. You’ll be noticing that articles are starting to come with a context button that gives you more details about the publisher.
They’ve also started to roll out a feature globally called Related Articles, which displays other sources discussing the same topic as any given article in your News Feed. These Related Articles have all been verified by the third-party fact-checkers and allow you to read around a subject and decide for yourself what to believe. If a fact-checker rates a story as false and you try to share it, you’ll be presented with other articles reporting on the same subject.
Stop the Flow of Money
A lot of the misinformation on Facebook is financially motivated. Publishers of fake news are often hoping that people will click on their stories and visit their sites, so they can make money from the ads they show there. Facebook are trying to make this practice unprofitable. They’re penalising fake news, clickbait, links that are shared by spammers and links to low-quality websites (also known as “ad farms”).
Publishers who are known to frequently share false information are also forbidden from running ads or using the other monetisation features, such as Instant Articles. Making fake news unprofitable should slow down it’s spread considerably and reduce the motives for creating it.
Well done Facebook – shame it took you so long to wake-up.
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