In response to post-election criticism for Facebook’s role in aiding and abetting the spread of fake news, i.e. stories that are made up in the imaginations of Macedonian teenagers and this guy, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg promised back in November that he would do something about it.
Some of Zuckerberg’s plans to combat the problem are coming to fruition. In a Facebook post, Adam Mosseri, Facebook’s vp of news, described some of those proposals. They include tests on different ways to help users report and flag fake news as well as a partnership with fact-checking orgs to debunk the fake news items being shared. It shares some similarities, incidentally, with the Chrome extension Slate introduced this week to help flag fake news. From Mosseri:
We believe providing more context can help people decide for themselves what to trust and what to share. We’ve started a program to work with third-party fact checking organizations that are signatories of Poynter’s International Fact Checking Code of Principles. We’ll use the reports from our community, along with other signals, to send stories to these organizations. If the fact checking organizations identify a story as fake, it will get flagged as disputed and there will be a link to the corresponding article explaining why. Stories that have been disputed may also appear lower in News Feed.
Among the organizations that have signed on are FactCheck.org, Snopes.com, PolitiFact, and (the real) ABC News.
“We are pleased to work with Facebook to help combat fake news to the extent that we can,” said FactCheck.org director Eugene Kiely in a statement. “We have been writing about viral chain emails and fake news about politics for nine years.”