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Facebook Users Given Trustworthiness Scores In Ongoing Battle Against Fake News

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In a bid of fighting fake news, Facebook will be rating its users on a scale of zero to one to determine their credibility.

Tessa Lyons, a Facebook product manager, revealed that the user trustworthiness score will help the social media platform ascertain whether users are identifying false information with honest intentions. Facebook will also be monitoring the user's behavior across its site before coming up with a rating. Nonetheless, there's currently no way on how to see the trustworthiness scores of every user.

"For example, if someone previously gave us feedback that an article was false and the article was confirmed false by a fact-checker, then we might weight that person's future false news feedback more than someone who indiscriminately provides false news feedback on lots of articles, including ones that end up being rated as true," Lyons said.

The move comes after Facebook started to roll out trust ratings to news websites earlier this year. It can be brought to mind that the social media platform ranked media outlets based on the quality of the news they are reporting. This rating would then be used as an indicator to decide which posts should be advertised higher in users' News Feeds.

However, Lyons reiterated that the trustworthiness ratings isn't meant to be an absolute barometer of the person's credibility but rather its one indicator among thousands of observable signs that Facebook uses. It's still uncertain as to what other precedents Facebook measures to come up with a user's score.

Facebook Ratings Make Users Feel Uncomfortable

Meanwhile, Claire Wardle, director of First Draft, explained that not being able to know how Facebook is coming up with these trust ratings make users feel uncomfortable. Three years ago, Facebook provided its users with a capability to report posts they believe to be counterfeit. However, the site later found out that people reported posts as bogus simply because they did not approve the content.

"Not knowing how [Facebook is] judging us is what makes us uncomfortable. But the irony is that they can't tell us how they are judging us — because if they do, the algorithms that they built will be gamed," Wardle said.

Prior to Facebook releasing its user ratings, the Chinese government have been examining their citizen's social media habits and online shopping purchases by assigning them with scores. The score is among the indicators to determine whether people can loan money or travel in a public transportation.

Photo: Anthony Quintano | Flickr

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