The effect of fake news on global news consumption over time is proof that social media platforms have a huge impact on how information is absorbed. Following scrutiny in the aftermath of the 2016 American elections, where fake news and click baits were cited as some of the agencies that skewered public opinion, Facebook is taking social responsibility. The company is now refining how hoaxes are filtered from actual news on the platform.
In 2013, the company introduced the ‘Disputed Flags’ feature to red flag fake news articles. This tool was recently replaced with a tool called ‘Related Articles’ that identifies fake news and shows more reliable articles before the post is opened. According to a post on Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook page, the goal is to “Connect People With Stories They Find Meaningful,” and give easy access to additional information that will help users identify hoax news.
Facebook’s product manager, Tessa Lyons said Facebook decided to replace ‘Disputed Flags’ with ‘Related Articles’ because the red badges reinforced the filter bubbles the tool was built to reduce. The new tool does not exactly change user experience, it just identifies reliable sources better and provides additional perspectives that (maybe) reduce the bandwagon effect of bubbles. Essentially, this new development does not change the Facebook experience for anyone who isn’t purposely sharing click bait or fake news articles. As it affects NATIVE, maybe now, after years of allowing trolls and bots to rule the day, true journalism can rise to the occasion.
Featured Image Credits: eschoolnews.com
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