Facebook combats false headlines

By Teamspirit on Wednesday, 7 December 2016

Users have reported that Facebook is testing a tool to assist in identifying fake news, presumably following criticism of the platform’s role in promoting false information. The function asks users to rank links’ titles on a scale of one to five, depending on the extent to which they think it uses misleading language.

A key difficulty is that the social network’s user interface accentuates the circulation of misleading headlines, since it encourages users to like, share and comment on the site itself rather than redirect externally. In fact research by Columbia University and the French National Institute published earlier this year found that 59% of links on social media were not read before being shared.

While the tool might be able to ensure that the content of shared articles is consistent with headlines, it will not be able to reveal or limit the sharing of fictitious content – so long as headlines are in line with articles, the site’s ranking system would regard the post as highly trustworthy.

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