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Facebook has a fake news problem in need of fixing. Unfortunately, determining what is real, what is fake, what is opinion, and what is satire is an incredibly tricky job. It’s no wonder then that Facebook is turning to its users to help it fix the problem.

The recent U.S. Presidential Election Google Really, Really, Really Wants You to Vote Google Really, Really, Really Wants You to Vote America is finally set to choose the next President of the United States. Regardless of who you're voting for, it's important to just vote. At least according to Google. Read More revealed a big problem at the very heart of the internet. Namely that we, the people who use the internet on a daily basis, have lost sight of the truth. Instead of questioning motives, we will believe the sources we trust, no matter how biased they may be.

This is true on both sides of the political divide, and it has led to people remaining ensconced in their social media echo chambers Breaking Out of the Social Media Echo Chamber Breaking Out of the Social Media Echo Chamber We use social media to reinforce our own beliefs. It can be tough to admit, but everybody does it. Here's why that's a bad idea and how to stop it. Read More . They will then refuse to even consider that what they believe to be true may in fact be a steaming pile of bullshine.

This isn’t just a Facebook problem, with fake news rising to the top of Google, Twitter, and beyond. However, Facebook is taking most of the blame thanks to its 1.8 billion-strong userbase. With great power comes great responsibility, as Peter Parker’s uncle once said. Probably.

Facebook Tries to Fix its Fake News Problem

Facebook is finally tackling its fake news problem using the one big advantage it has over its competitors… those 1.8 billion users.

According to several different sources, Facebook is testing a tool which asks users to judge the newsworthiness of a story. Underneath links to news articles on external websites, including Rolling Stone, the Philadelphia Inquirer, and Chortle, users are being asked:

“To what extent do you think that this link’s title uses misleading language?”

or

“To what extent do you think that this link’s title withholds key details of the story?”

The five possible answers are “Not At All,” “Slightly,” Somewhat,” “Very Much,” and “Completely”.

Facebook isn’t officially addressing this new crowdsourcing experiment to fix its fake news problem, but it has to be assumed these answers will be used to adjust the algorithm which surfaces relevant news stories.

Do you think you could identify real news from fake news? Should opinions be classified as fake news? Should satirical news sites suffer from the crackdown? What should Facebook do to fix its fake news problem? Please let us know in the comments below!

Image Credit: Sam Saunders via Flickr

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  1. John Smith
    December 28, 2016 at 12:56 am

    @Dave Parrack
    I was right, you refused to publish my response to your false accusations.
    This is the 3rd time I posted this response and it was not published.

    I am almost certain this will also be censored, as you com across as a typical thin skinned leftist who throws accusations, makes wild claims and cannot stand seeing ANYONE opposing his claims.
    Prove me wrong. Here is my response you refused to publish.
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Since your latest comment cannot be replied to, I'll post my reply to it here.

    "I have zero interest in debating the accuracy or otherwise of individual news stories"

    I don't think anyone cares what you are personally interested in. You posted a public article that is "reporting" partisan calls to censor news based on nothing, and I responded explaining to you how that is wrong.

    "Ironically you proved yourself wrong by citing two stories you claim to be fake news."
    LOL!
    Really? So you are saying obama did not lie about obamacare promising to keep your plan and doctor if you like them and to save $2500 of your yearly health care cost?
    Would you take his word for it?
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qpa-5JdCnmo
    Good luck arguing against video evidence by dismissing them as fake news

    Or are you saying obama and Hillary never blamed a video for the Benghazi attacks?
    Here are both, on video doing exactly that.
    Like I said earlier, good luck arguing against video evidence.

    In fact Hillary was questioned by the congress and asked why she did that, while at the same time sending emails to her daughter Chelsea and foreign leader saying it was terrorist attack, she failed to answer the question and changed the subject. Did you miss the Benghazi hearings too? I can post the link to that exchange.

    Like any other liberal (which I am sure that you will now deny you are), you try to dismiss facts as "fake news" by lying about them, or claim that they never happened, ironically while complaining about fake news.

    "I think we can agree that fake news is a thing.
    No I don't agree with that.
    You are complaining about something that never had any impact and existed since day one, and unless you were living in a different world, people always lied, or exaggerated/gossiped.
    It just became "a thing" because sore losers on the left lost an election that they think they are entitled to and now indoctrinated everyone with lies.

    "The difference is I see it being spread by both sides."
    Could have fooled me.
    Your article and your response tells me you are yet another author who claims be fair and claims to be just reporting while showing clear partisan bias.
    Seeing how you can't handle facts and how your articles lack credibility. I think I am going to skip your articles from now on.

    • James Bruce
      December 28, 2016 at 10:29 am

      Calm down - you posted a link to a video, as well as some $ signs. No one is censoring you - these are caught in the moderation filter by default to protect users from malicious links and spam, and since most of us are on holiday right now, no one is around to approve messages.

      • John Smith
        December 28, 2016 at 11:21 am

        I am as calm as anyone else.
        Thanks for caring.

  2. John Smith
    December 24, 2016 at 5:14 am

    @Dave Parrack
    Also, if you are not interested in responses, opinions or comments and want to post an article and that's it, then you should remove this section from your article asking for feedback.

    "Do you think you could identify real news from fake news? Should opinions be classified as fake news? Should satirical news sites suffer from the crackdown? What should Facebook do to fix its fake news problem? Please let us know in the comments below!"

  3. John Smith
    December 24, 2016 at 5:13 am

    @Dave Parrack
    I was right, you refused to publish my response to your fasle accusations.
    I am almost certain this will also be censored, as you com across as a typical thin skinned leftist who throws accusations, makes wild claims and cannot stand seeing ANYONE opposing his claims.
    Prove me wrong. Here is my response you refused to publish.
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Since your latest comment cannot be replied to, I'll post my reply to it here.

    "I have zero interest in debating the accuracy or otherwise of individual news stories"

    I don't think anyone cares what you are personally interested in. You posted a public article that is "reporting" partisan calls to censor news based on nothing, and I responded explaining to you how that is wrong.

    "Ironically you proved yourself wrong by citing two stories you claim to be fake news."
    LOL!
    Really? So you are saying obama did not lie about obamacare promising to keep your plan and doctor if you like them and to save $2500 of your yearly health care cost?
    Would you take his word for it?
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qpa-5JdCnmo
    Good luck arguing against video evidence by dismissing them as fake news

    Or are you saying obama and Hillary never blamed a video for the Benghazi attacks?
    Here are both, on video doing exactly that.
    Like I said earlier, good luck arguing against video evidence.

    In fact Hillary was questioned by the congress and asked why she did that, while at the same time sending emails to her daughter Chelsea and foreign leader saying it was terrorist attack, she failed to answer the question and changed the subject. Did you miss the Benghazi hearings too? I can post the link to that exchange.

    Like any other liberal (which I am sure that you will now deny you are), you try to dismiss facts as "fake news" by lying about them, or claim that they never happened, ironically while complaining about fake news.

    "I think we can agree that fake news is a thing.
    No I don't agree with that.
    You are complaining about something that never had any impact and existed since day one, and unless you were living in a different world, people always lied, or exaggerated/gossiped.
    It just became "a thing" because sore losers on the left lost an election that they think they are entitled to and now indoctrinated everyone with lies.

    "The difference is I see it being spread by both sides."
    Could have fooled me.
    Your article and your response tells me you are yet another author who claims be fair and claims to be just reporting while showing clear partisan bias.
    Seeing how you can't handle facts and how your articles lack credibility. I think I am going to skip your articles from now on.

  4. John Smith
    December 23, 2016 at 9:41 am

    Three is no "fake news", that is just a term invented in the 2016 elections by liberal snowflakes who got their little feelings hurt.
    There were also rumors and made up stuff circulating the web and social media from day one.
    The "fake news" label is to justify censorship of anything that does not fit the liberal narrative.

    Funny how the left who told you Trump will not win the elections and insisted that they are reporting based on facts and scientific data verified news are now complaining about the so called fake news, same with obama who insisted that you will keep your doctor and plan if you like and you'll save $2000/year on your annual healthcare costs, same with obama and Hillary who blamed a youtube video, arrested the poor guy who produced it (violating his 1st amendment rights) on the Benghazi terrorist attacks.
    The "fake news" nonsense fools only those who have not been paying attention.

    • Dave Parrack
      December 23, 2016 at 10:00 am

      You're wrong. Fake news is news that's low on facts and high on spin and opinion. And it's being written and promoted by both sides of the political divide.

      Surely the truth is what's important, not your interpretation of the truth.

      • John Smith
        December 23, 2016 at 10:14 am

        No actually I am not wrong, every word I posted can be verified with a simple web search but requires the researcher to take off their partisan glasses, and without being indoctrinated.
        I listed what is fake news, real fake news. Go ahead, prove me wrong on those instances. I'll be waiting here.

        • Dave Parrack
          December 23, 2016 at 10:31 am

          I have zero interest in debating the accuracy or otherwise of individual news stories. I was merely countering your claim that fake news isn't a thing. Ironically you proved yourself wrong by citing two stories you claim to be fake news.

          I think we can agree that fake news is a thing. The difference is I see it being spread by both sides.

  5. Scott
    December 7, 2016 at 2:27 pm

    It seems to me there is some merit in this idea, but - in response to people who will mark something they believe in as real whether or not it is (as suggested by an earlier comment) - Facebook would have to monitor the responses with it's own evaluations of truth. It could then identify users whose responses seem to tend toward accuracy in the most instances, and rely on their responses to alter their algorithms. Some people would take it seriously, and welcome the opportunity to debunk fake news. Facebook could then include a warning with items likely to be fake, suggesting that people should check out the source facts before spreading the story.

  6. paul
    December 7, 2016 at 1:28 pm

    The problem with this approach is that people who disagree with the article, even if it's 100% factual, will mark it as being fake. Asking Facebook users -- the same users spreading the fake news -- is absolutely the wrong approach. Facebook needs to build a database of legitimate news sources and have that list audited independently in the name of fairness.

  7. Howard A Pearce
    December 7, 2016 at 1:13 pm

    "With great power comes great responsibility, as Peter Parker’s uncle once said. "

    Now that is a statement which shows one of the problems with society - that more power mean somehow validates that one has more "responsibility" (CONTROL) "for" (OVER) others.
    Perhaps the biggest responsibility is not to use it except when absolutely necessary

    "Facebook has a fake news problem in need of fixing. Unfortunately, determining what is real, what is fake, what is opinion, and what is satire is an incredibly tricky job"

    I want MUD to tell it's readers how it defines FAKE news and how it believes it can be "determined".

    Until they can do this for their readers, they are better off keeping their mouth shut over things they have no knowledge of.

    Tricky to say the least! What is fake or false is and has always been ultimately in the hands of the individual to determine for him/her self (AND the sources that they CHOOSE to accept as reliable).

    People ought to be very concerned when these decisions are pushed onto a national level that almost is always looking for a national and probably fascists decision and control over what is fake or not.

    Already the U.S. has Net Neutrality where the state now has control over what is "neutral" or not when it comes to internet communication with the power to mandate that neutrality on those providing us access to this mode of communcation. What is next ? Speech Neutrality or Press Neutrality?