Facebook is bringing two new changes in a continued effort to limit the spread of fake news on its platform. Facebook says it will no longer show Disputed Flags, the red badges displayed under articles on the News Feed. It will instead show Related Articles to give more context about the story to its users. Also Read - Your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram account can get deleted if you do thisAlso Read - Facebook smartwatch to feature cameras alongside fitness functions: Yes, detachable cameras!
The second change is a new initiative to better understand how people decide whether information displayed on their News Feed is accurate or not depending on the news sources they depend on. The study will not have any direct impact on the News Feed but can help Facebook’s algorithm to understand which news sources are more accurate from an user’s perspective. The initiative might also help improve the quality of information on Facebook over time. Also Read - What happens to your Facebook account after you die?
Facebook says it has decided to stop showing red flags next to an article since it establishes a strong perspective among its users. It cites academic research for this understanding and says its opposite to what the Disputed Articles was intended for. The social media giant says Related Articles will not only add more context to a story but is an effective way to help people know the facts. “Indeed, we’ve found that when we show Related Articles next to a false news story, it leads to fewer shares than when the Disputed Flag is shown,” Tessa Lyons, Product Manager wrote in a blog post.
Facebook has been taking new initiatives to curtail the spread of fake news on its platform since it was established that the network was used to serve misinformation around US Presidential Election last year. The company has announced investment into better technology like advanced machine learning and adding more people to stop the spread of false news.
“Demoting false news (as identified by fact-checkers) is one of our best weapons because demoted articles typically lose 80 percent of their traffic. This destroys the economic incentives spammers and troll farms have to generate these articles in the first place,” Lyons added.
Earlier this week, Facebook announced plans to demote posts that act as ‘engagement bait’ on its platform. However, it recognizes these steps will not stop the spread of fake news and understanding which news sources its users trust will be crucial to preventing misinformation.