A few months after it was attacked by US Government and users for failing to stop the spread of fake news, Facebook rolls out an update designed to do just that.
This allows you to see who shared a piece of news, so you can decide if it’s legitimate or not. Click the new “i” icon and you will be able to view more about that publication, including a Wikipedia synopsis and a map of where the article is being shared. After that, it’s your call – you’ll decide how trustworthy is it.
However, the second part of the “fake news update” can seriously backfire. It allows you to see exactly which friend shared said article. According to Facebook, the features were created “with feedback and input from a diverse set of people and publishers, including many participants in the Facebook Journalism Project,” though it remains to be seen how effective they can be.
The first time Facebook started really fighting fake news and clickbait, the company experimented with its Related Articles. Right under a posted article, users could see alternative articles from another publication, in order to obtain a more balanced viewpoint.
Now, you can see exactly how the article in question spread through your network. In short, it’s mostly a tool to see which of your friends constantly fall for clickbait and misinformation.
As with all Facebook updates, there’s no doubt that it has the potential to create a lot of hostility on the platform. However, the test is now live only in the US but, if it brings satisfactory results, it could be pushed to European users as well.
For those wanting to see exactly how Facebook decided to fight fake news this way, the company posted an insightful article on the design process and raised a few interesting questions to ponder upon, like: “How might people respond to particular signals within the design of News Feed? What unique objective information is Facebook best positioned to provide?”