A sure-shot sign that a story you see on your News Feed is fake, could be the lack of other sources to support it. This is why Facebook started showing you Related Articles back in April.
The story is a familiar one: 2016 has been “disastrous” for many due to fake news, and social media platforms came under fire for the mechanisms they use to surface disputed stories – or lack of such mechanisms. Facebook got a lot of criticism, and has since embarked on a crusade to “right the wrongs” and provide more transparency (and a bit of self-censorship) in its “editorial processes.”
Although Related Articles is not a new concept and has been around for a while, Facebook is now using it much more against fake news. When a user sees a story on their News Feed, hovering over it will show additional articles to support the story – think about it as some sort of fact-checker. Related Articles may include sources such as Snopes, a well-known resource for validating and debunking such stories.
Apart from debunking fake stories, Related Articles offer a variety of sources that cover a single subject, from totally different websites, so as to promote dialogue and mutual understanding. Moreover, Facebook is already tagging suspected fake news with a “Disputed” label, discouraging users from sharing defamatory or entirely fabricated articles.
Changes are already available in U.S., Germany, France, and the Netherlands since August 3.
Facebook also announced updates to its machine learning that will allow it to “detect more potential hoaxes to send to third-party fact checkers.” So now, if a posted article has already been reviewed by fact checkers, Facebook may show those “fact checking stories” underneath it. As Sarah Su explains in a recent update to an older newsroom post,
In addition to seeing which stories are disputed by third-party fact checkers, people want more context to make informed decisions about what they read and share.
Facebook explains that these updates shouldn’t make significant impact on Page reach, unless of course a Page is spreading false news and/or hoaxes.