Facebook to alert users when they are about to share an old news article

Facebook news article

In a new feature being rolled out globally, Facebook will notify users if the news article they are about to share is more than 90 days old.

In 2018, Facebook had added a context button to help users access information about the source of the articles in their News Feed. Over time, the platform realised the need for more transparency to empower users to read credible information. As a step in this direction, Facebook is now rolling out a notification screen, globally, that will let people know when they are about to share a news article that is over 90 days old.

The notification screen will appear when the user is about to share the article. However, they can still continue to go ahead if they decide that the article is still relevant. The idea, the platform says, is to help users make informed decisions regarding what they chose to share on Facebook.

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With the help of internal research over the last several months, Facebook had found that the timeliness of an article is an important factor to understand the context of a story and for users to decide if they wish to read, trust and share the news piece. It was a major concern flagged by news publishers too.

When an old news piece is shared on social media in the guise of current news, it can lead to wrongful assumptions around the state of current events. In fact, some publishers, like The Guardian, have already taken steps in their capacity to prominently label old articles.

Facebook is also trying to explore other uses of such notification screens for say links that are about COVID-19. It could help the platform redirect people to credible sources as well as make users aware of the consequences of what they are about to share. “Through providing more context, our goal is to make it easier for people to identify content that’s timely, reliable and most valuable to them,” says Facebook.