Facebook Declares War on Fake News

The world’s largest social media company is going to make it a lot harder for fake stories to surface in your News Feed.

Facebook is finally cracking down on their fake news problem. The world’s most widely used social media platform will now be fact-checking news stories to verify their accuracy and will bury fake stories in the News Feed, the company announced Thursday.

The Book was widely criticized this year for their failure to suppress multiple fake news stories about Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton that rapidly spread on the platform during the presidential election. Many of these false reports, which were overwhelmingly pro-Trump or anti-Clinton, can be traced to a small town called Veles in Macedonia. Teenagers here were crafting sensational stories they knew would get the attention of Americans on Facebook and therefore bring in lots of money from advertisements.

To assist them in waging war on the deluge of fake stories that still surface on the platform everyday,Facebook is partnering with several media organizations including Snopes, Factcheck.org, ABC News and PolitiFact, which are all part of a fact-checking network called Poynters based in St. Petersburg, Fla.

Soon, users will be able to report stories they suspect are fake. Once the story has been marked as false by fact-checkers, it will be demoted in the News Feed.

“We’re testing several ways to make it easier to report a hoax if you see one on Facebook, which you can do by clicking the upper right hand corner of a post,” Adam Mosseri, VP of News Feed said in the company’s blog post. “We’ve relied heavily on our community for help on this issue, and this can help us detect more fake news.”

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Facebook will still allow you to share fake news stories, but before you hit the Share button you’ll see a notification that tells you the story’s accuracy has been disputed by 3rd parties.

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There will also be a team of Facebook researchers reviewing website domains that appear to be fake, like “washingtonpost.co,” and sending them to the Poynters’ 3rd-party fact-checkers. Once a website has been labeled as a fake news organization, they will no longer be allowed to sell ads on the platform.

“On the buying side, we’ve eliminated the ability to spoof domains, which will reduce the prevalence of sites that pretend to be real publications,” Mosseri said.

The crackdown will likely come as a disappointment to the young people of Veles, who, in some cases, have been making thousands of euros a day from advertisements on their fake news sites, according to the BBC report. When asked if he worries these stories may have unfairly influenced the U.S. election, a young man who used to run a fake news site in Veles told the BBC, “Teenagers in our city don’t care how Americans vote. They are only satisfied that they make money and can buy expensive clothes and drinks!”

Mosseri ended his post with a sentiment on the importance of authenticity to everyone who works at Facebook. “It’s important to us that the stories you see on Facebook are authentic and meaningful,” he said. “We’re excited about this progress, but we know there’s more to be done. We’re going to keep working on this problem for as long as it takes to get it right.”