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 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. 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.
— Chris Krewson (@ckrewson) December 5, 2016
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?”
“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