Tech Times reported on April 3 that major technology companies have come together to launch a news integrity initiative in order to combat the spread of unreliable news that quickly get shared.
Of course, fighting against false stories passed off as factual content is not easy to do, so as part of "The Facebook Journalism Project," the social media platform is intent on educating its users to promote news literacy.
On April 6, Facebook launched its newest educational tool to fight misinformation: tips on how to spot false news.
False News vs. Fake News
The very first thing to notice about Facebook's initiative is that the platform now uses the term "false news" instead of "fake news." While some may think the move is a way to distance the term from President Donald Trump's version of fake news - almost anything he does not agree with - we would like to think of it as Facebook's effort to indicate a story's credibility.
According to Tech Crunch, Facebook says that it switched to the term "false news" because it is a more accurate phrase to indicate malicious or intentionally false content that actively intends to confuse people into believing it is real news.
How To Spot False News
The educational tool is available in 14 countries - including the United States - and come in the form of an alert on top of the News Feed. If a user clicks the "Tips To Spot False News" alert, they will be redirected to the Facebook Help Center where a list of tips are laid out.
The list comprises different - and very basic - elements a reader should watch out for before or upon opening a webpage to read the article. While it may seem too simple, we have to agree that a little effort, especially on the part of the reader, goes a long way when it comes to derailing the misinformation train.
Below are the 10 tips Facebook outlined.
• Be skeptical of headlines.
• Look closely at the URL.
• Investigate the source.
• Watch for unusual formatting.
• Consider the photos.
• Inspect the dates.
• Check the evidence.
• Look at other reports.
• Is the story a joke?
• Some stories are intentionally false.
We will probably see more posts like this from Facebook this spring because it is currently working with the News Literacy Project to make more public service announcements.