Since many people are finding it difficult to distinguish what is real and what is fake on Facebook, the company is testing a feature that will label fake stories from satirical sites like The Onion and many others out there. Apparently, the feature has been requested by a few users – whether they are very gullible or not is another question.
The new feature comes in the form of a tag reading “[Satire] in front of links to satirical articles, in the related articles unit in News Feed“. Facebook has said that this is just a small-scale test for now, but if it works according to plan, it could soon be implemented on a larger scale.
A few weeks ago, Ars Technica released an image showing related stories in a Facebook News Feed with [Satire] written next to it. The tag only appears after a user actually clicks on a satirical link and then returns to the News Feed.
If you are a fan of Literally Unbelievable, then you might be out of luck. This move will almost certainly stop gullible people from believing The Onion stories… Or will it? Now, The Onion is actually very well-known, so what happens with lesser-known satirical sites? Well, it seems that even journalists are not immune to gullibility (especially if they don’t check their sources). A Washington Post journalist apparently picked up a story from The Daily Currant (another satirical site) and actually ran the story as real news. Crazy! :P