Social media giant Facebook is launching a new feature that flags fake news articles as “disputed,” with the goal of reducing the amount of false information spread on the site.
Some users may have already begun to notice that certain news stories are marked as disputed on popular social media network.
Facebook has also added a new Help page outlining how the system works. The new feature uses independent fact-checking organizations including Politifact and Snopes.com to assess the factual accuracy of stories reported as fake by users.
Facebook has been searching for a solution to fight ‘fake news’ stories since last December amid outcries, particularly from the political left, that so-called fake news influenced the outcome of the US presidential election.
There’s no indication yet whether the ‘Disputed’ designation will have a direct impact on how a story is handled by Facebook’s ranking algorithms or what will happen to a post or account once an article has been deemed ‘fake” by the social media giant and its fact checkers.
Critics of the crusade against “fake news’ argue that before we rush to place fact checking organizations such as Snopes or Politifact as the authority on what is “truth” on Facebook, we need to have a lot more understanding of how they function internally and much greater transparency into their work that what is in place now.
Snopes has been accused in the past of being left-leaning and politically motivated. The independent fact-checking website has also been questioned on their vetting methods of their so called fact-checkers.
While Politico often cites Media Matters as it’s source, which is very problematic. Media Matters claims to be:
A web based, non profit, progressive research and information center dedicated to comprehensively monitoring, analyzing, and correcting conservative misinformation” in print, broadcast, cable, radio, and Internet media outlets across the United States. Such “misinformation” includes “news or commentary that is not accurate, reliable, or credible and that forwards the conservative agenda. mediamatters.org/about
Facebook has not announced when the “disputed” feature will be available to everyone.