Fighting Fake News: Facebook Adds ‘Disputed’ Alerts
We all know that not everything people share on Facebook is true. There is a sea of fake information and articles that circulate on Facebook every now and then.
Hopefully, their days are numbered.
Facebook is now taking steps towards battling fake news. In its recent attempt to do so, Facebook has now added a ‘disputed’ alert to notify its users that a certain news story is fake.
It’s a red warning sign that is displayed to Facebook users. And in case you’re wondering, no, Facebook doesn’t label those stories as ‘fake’ or ‘false’. It simply labels them as ‘disputed’ — because that’s what they mostly are.
The disputed content alert appears directly below the disputed story; it’s really impossible to miss it. Here is how it looks.
Looks pretty helpful, right?
However, there’s a catch.
Look at the above screenshot again and try noticing what’s so wrong about this story.
The story is published by a fun and satire website called the Seattle Tribune. Facebook users would identify that it’s a “fun” story, but Facebook is now going to label such stories as “disputed”.
Because although those stories are published for the sake of fun (and everybody knows that), they are true at all.
In other words, it’s a “fake” story.
If you want to find more information about the disputed content, you can click on the label and a popup will appear — just like the following image.
Also, if users would try to share the disputed story, a notification will alert them.
The warning message says, “Before you share this content, you might want to know that the fact-checking sites, Snopes.com and PolitiFact disputed its accuracy.”
However, it would be up to the users whether they want to stop or continue sharing the disputed news.
There are a couple of noticeable issues here:
- For this system to work, Facebook users will have to report fake stories.
- Second, Facebook’s automated system will also have to identify a story as fake or “disputed” before it goes viral.
There is a lot to be done here, but we believe that it is a right step by Facebook. It was long due, after all.
We will know soon enough whether this new system works or not. Regardless, it seems like Facebook knows that combating fake news is a high priority now, which is good news for everyone.