Facebook will not be giving up the fight against Fake News anytime soon, with three more changes being introduced in the war against unverified news articles that have tarnished the social network’s credibility as a reliable source of information.
The company admits “False news is harmful to our community, it makes the world less informed, and it erodes trust.” which is a pretty concise description, but does not capture the magnitude of ‘harm’ that Fake News causes to the community.
Today, Facebook has deployed three new ways to tackle Fake News on Facebook.
Realizing the fact that most Fake News is financially inclined, Facebook plans at “disrupting economic incentives” to address the problem.
Websites parading around acting as legitimate sources of news and information are more often than not merely trying to boost clicks and visits to their pages, which nets them some sort of financial gain. Facebook intends to go after their financial gains itself in order to discourage such publications from doing so, or at the least crippling dishonest websites financially.
Working with third party fact checkers, and empowering the Facebook community to identify Fake News, identifying people who post Fake News on Facebook and making things as difficult as Facebook possibly can to prevent them from buying ads on the platform, machine learning and updating fake account detection are some of the steps Facebook will take in order to fulfill the objective of disrupting economic incentives of Fake News peddlers.
Also, Facebook has allocated their efforts and resources towards developing new products that would help them tackle the Fake News problem much more effectively.
Ranking poorly performing articles lower on the News Feed considering it may contain less useful or, even inaccurate or downright false information, assigning tools to Facebook users that would empower them to report Fake News which in turn would ensure that such stories are ranked lower, and also, Facebook is working with third party fact checkers to verify the authenticity of news articles, and flagging them ‘Disputed’.
The third course of action from Facebook involves “helping people make informed decisions when they encounter false news.”
Facebook has undertaken a number of activities to curtail the spread of Fake News articles on their platform, such as The Journalism Project and the News Integrity Initiative.
The Journalism Project arms journalists with knowledge about how to optimize Facebook for their articles, and boost the presence of authentic information on the platform.
The News Integrity Initiative in Facebook’s words describes it as, “a group of over 25 funders and participants — including tech industry leaders, academic institutions, non-profits and third party organizations — to launch the News Integrity Initiative, a global consortium focused on helping people make informed judgments about the news they read and share online. Founding funders of this $14-million fund include Facebook, the Craig Newmark Philanthropic Fund, the Ford Foundation, the Democracy Fund, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the Tow Foundation, AppNexus, Mozilla and Betaworks. The initiative’s mission is to advance news literacy, to increase trust in journalism around the world and to better inform the public conversation. The initiative, which is administered by the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism, will fund applied research and projects, and convene meetings with industry experts.”
We do hope that this comprehensive three pronged approach fromt Facebook will successfully tackle the persistent Fake News problem on the world’s largest social networking platform.