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Facebook Backtracks on Fake News Flags

PaulRubens - December 22, 2017 - 06:10 AM
Facebook Backtracks on Fake News Flags
Research suggests that Facebook's Disputed News flags have the opposite effect to what it intended.

(CCM) — One of Facebook's attempts to fight fake news has been left in tatters following the embarrassing revelation that it may actually encourage it.


The company has decided to abandon the use of Disputed Flags to identify false news on the social media platform because they can be counterproductive, Tessa Lyons, a Facebook product manager, announced. "Academic research on correcting misinformation has shown that putting a strong image, like a red flag, next to an article may actually entrench deeply held beliefs – the opposite effect to what we intended," she explained.

Instead of Disputed Flags, Facebook will use Related Articles, she adds. "Related Articles are simply designed to give more context, which our research has shown is a more effective way to help people get to the facts." Facebook has found that when users are shown Related Articles next to false news stories, this leads to fewer shares than when the Disputed Flag is shown.

Facebook also announced that it is working on a new initiative to understand how people decide whether news is fake or not. The results of this initiative will not impact the News Feed in the near term, but eventually it may help improve the overall quality of information on the social network.

Image: © GongTo - Shutterstock.com
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