Facebook Rolls Out Tools to Curb Fake News

Facebook Rolls Out Tools to Curb Fake News

Foto: Fotolia

Facebook is changing its powerful news feed in an effort to stamp out fake stories following a firestorm around the social network's role in spreading false information, according to Bloomberg. The new features, rolled out to select U.S. users on Thursday, add options for readers and third-party fact checkers to flag articles, tweak Facebook's algorithm and provide more restrictions on advertising.

A month ago, Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg said these changes were coming, responding to extensive criticism in the wake of the U.S. presidential election. The issue has only grown more heated since. A Pew Research Center survey, released on Thursday, revealed that almost one-quarter of Americans believed they shared fake news and a greater percentage were concerned about its consequences.

Still, Facebook framed its moves carefully, showing its aversion to being seen as taking an editorial or political stance. "Fake news means different things to different people," said Adam Mosseri, Facebook's vice president of product management. "What we're focused on is the worst of the worst. We're not looking to get into the gray area of opinion."

Two of the incoming changes are very visible. Facebook users will be able to flag content on the site as a "fake news story." Articles deemed false by Facebook's partner, Poynter Institute's International Fact Checking Network, will have a new tag attached: "Disputed by 3rd Party Fact-Checkers." Publishers behind these articles will no longer be able to promote these articles as Facebook paid ads. The social network also will be working with fact-checking organizations Politfact, Snopes and FactCheck.org, as well as ABC News and the Associated Press to identify articles as fake.

But Facebook isn't scrubbing these articles from its site altogether. "If something is been disputed, we're going to let you know," Mosseri said. "But you can still share it because we believe in giving people a voice." The company also said it's taking steps to snip financial incentives for publishers of fake news. It plans to cut off producers of content from hoax domains from buying on its ad networks. Mosseri said these websites represent a negligible part of Facebook's advertising revenue.

He noted that the adjustments are algorithmic and won't rely on editors employed by Facebook and has also dismissed the likelihood that users would take advantage of the new features to bombard articles or publications they disagree with, rather than those stories they find blatantly false. These incidents "happen many times less, orders of magnitude less," Mosseri said. "Most people aren't going to report anything negative."

More from category

Symantec Powers Consumer Security With the Microsoft Cloud

Symantec Powers Consumer Security With the Microsoft Cloud

19 Oct 2017 comment

Microsoft announced that cybersecurity leader Symantec is using the Azure cloud to help deliver its Norton consumer products to a global community of more than 50 million people and families. Azure provides Symantec with a highly reliable, trusted cloud that offers global scale and cost efficiencies.

IBM Announces Blockchain Solution to Speed Global Payments

IBM Announces Blockchain Solution to Speed Global Payments

19 Oct 2017 comment

IBM announced a new blockchain banking solution that will help financial institutions address the processes of universal cross-border payments, designed to reduce the settlement time and lower the cost of completing global payments for businesses and consumers.

AWS and Microsoft Announce Gluon, a Deep Learning Interface

AWS and Microsoft Announce Gluon, a Deep Learning Interface

17 Oct 2017 comment

Amazon Web Services and Microsoft announced a new deep learning library, called Gluon, that allows developers of all skill levels to prototype, build, train and deploy sophisticated machine learning models for the cloud, devices at the edge and mobile apps.