Facebook announced on Thursday that it will rely on third-party fact-checkers to properly identify fake news on the site. Snopes, FactCheck.org, Politifact, ABC News, and Associate Press will help fulfill the promises Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook's chief, made in November to detect, report, and verify the veracity of news shared on users' newsfeeds.
Facebook Cracks Down On Fake News
With the help the aforementioned outlets, Facebook will fact-check, label, and bury fake news and on its site accordingly. The move is Facebook's response to growing criticism of its failure to sandblast misinformation off its site, which was especially targeted post-U.S. Election, with a number of op-eds suggesting that President-elect Donald Trump won because of it.
Facebook's team-up with the aforementioned media organizations will commence via a test involving select users in the United States. Once new stories have been confirmed by fact-checkers as fake, they will be labeled accordingly, and its disputed inaccuracy will be evinced in the newsfeed.
How Users Can Help
In the past, Facebook has largely relied on users to identify fake news, offering them tools to report a news story they think is questionable, and this is still the case now. Facebook has added "It's a false news story" as an option when users report a particular link on the newsfeed.
"We've relied heavily on our community for help on this issue, and this can help us detect more fake news," said Adam Mosseri, Facebook's News Feed VP.
News items Facebook users report as fake will be sent to the fact-checkers. If they verify the news items in question as false, they will get flagged as disputed, and there will be an included link that'll explain why. The flagged news item will appear with a warning sign, informing those about to read the news that it's been disputed by Facebook's third-party fact-checkers.
Fake Websites Can't Sell Ads On Facebook
Furthermore, websites Facebook identify as fake news sources or spoofed domain names will be barred from selling ads on the site. Given that owners of fake news organizations or fake news writers earn thousands of dollars through ads, Facebook's crackdown certainly dwindles the motivation to proliferate misinformation as a revenue-generating tactic.
Facebook itself has reiterated that it is not a media company but a platform where content can be shared, so its reliance on outside support is a logical move for the company.
"We do not think of ourselves as editors," Patrick Walker, Facebook's head of media partnerships, said during a journalism conference. "We believe it's essential that Facebook stay out of the business of deciding what issues the world should read about. That's what editors do."
High-profile politicians, along with a number of pundits, have expressed their dismay over Facebook's fake news situation and the general proliferation of misinformation online.
Zuckerberg, however, has said that it's a silly proposition that fake news titled the election in favor of now President-elect Trump. After the overwhelming backlash, however, Zuckerberg has addressed the issues piecemeal. With third-party fact-checkers set in place to fight fake news, he now calls Facebook as "a new kind of platform."
"I think of Facebook as a technology company, but I recognize we have a greater responsibility than just building technology that information flows through," said Zuckerberg in a post Thursday.