Facebook hires Hillary Clinton to lead assault on fake news*

*Headline may be fake. Facebook's really outlined four tactics to crimp fake news

Facebook's revealed its plans to tackle fake news.

Days after the United States election Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg pooh-poohed the theory that fake news spreading on his site influenced the United States Presidential election.

But a handful of days later Facebook announced it would make it harder to turn a quid with fake news and not many more rotations of the Earth later promised a stern anti-fake initiative and swore blind Facebook's been hard at work on the problem for a while.

Now, thanks to a post by Adam Mosseri, Facebooks veep for its News Feed, we know the four tactics The Social Network™ will use.

First up is making it “easier to report a hoax if you see one on Facebook” by adding an “It's a fake news story” to the options on offer when users report posts.

The company's also struck up a relationship with fact-checking organisation who have signed up to journalism education outift Poynter’s International Fact Checking Code of Principles. Those organisations will be sent stories that lots of users have flagged as fake. If the fact-checkers agree, the story will be marked as “disputed” on Facebook.

Earning that badge of dishonour means disputed stories “may also appear lower in News Feed,” Mosseri says. Disputed stories will also prompt a warning if users choose to share them with friends.

Mosseri describes another fake-busting tactic as follows:

We’ve found that if reading an article makes people significantly less likely to share it, that may be a sign that a story has misled people in some way. We’re going to test incorporating this signal into ranking, specifically for articles that are outliers, where people who read the article are significantly less likely to share it.

Which is interesting, but perhaps also a bit creepy because it shows Facebook seems to have sentiment analysis capabilities based on user activity.

Fourth, is a pair of actions aimed fake news economics. Moressi says Facebook has “eliminated the ability to spoof domains, which will reduce the prevalence of sites that pretend to be real publications.” To stop dodgy publishers, “we are analyzing publisher sites to detect where policy enforcement actions might be necessary.”

The post concludes with Mosseri saying Facebook gives a big thumbs down to fakes and will throw engineers and ideas at to “for as long as it takes to get it right.” ®


Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2017