With so-called fake news threatening to permanently damage Facebook Inc.’s (FB) reputation, the social media network took another to help users decipher what is real and what isn't.
Late last week, Facebook rolled out a new flagging system in which it will tag fake news as “disputed.” Facebook announced plans to launch the system after it faced criticism for being a conduit for allowing fabricated and untrue news stories to be spread ahead of the 2016 U.S. presidential election.
Facebook is relying on non-partisan third parties to determine if a news story flagged by a user is fake or factual. Facebook is flagging individual stories rather than websites and won't pull the stories from its social network. Stories that are tagged as disputed will also include links to websites that specialize in debunking conspiracy theories, alternative facts and fake news.
Efforts to Fight Fake News
In December, Facebook said the participating fact checkers have to sign a Code of Principles created by the Poytner Institute, the non-profit that covers the world of journalism. On its website, Facebook alerted uses to the move saying, “You may see that certain news stories are marked as disputed on Facebook. News stories that are reported as fake by people on Facebook may be reviewed by independent third-party fact-checkers. These fact-checkers will be signatories of the non-partisan Poynter Code of Principles. A story may be marked as disputed if these fact-checkers find the story to be fake.” (See also: Facebook Is Testing Dislike Button in Messenger.)
Since the election, Facebook has been trying to improve its reputation and increase trust among its users. In an era where President Donald Trump and his allies offer up "alternative facts" about the crowd size at his inauguration and deems anything critical as "fake news," Facebook is trying to make sure alternative facts don’t land on its news feeds anymore. In January, Facebook announced it is launching the Journalism Project, an initiative aimed to create a healthier "news ecosystem" on its platform. Facebook is rolling out a number of initiatives, including promoting news literacy and developing additional tools to "curb news hoaxes." Facebook also outlined plans to collaborate with news outlets on publishing tools and features before they're released. The Journalism Project coincides with the company's hiring of Campbell Brown, a former CNN prime-time host, to lead its news partnership.