Facebook announced on Thursday a series of changes designed to combat the spread of fake news on the social media platform. However, Facebook is shifting the actual fact-checking work of what is fake news and what is not to partners who have signed onto Ponyter’s International Fact-Checking Network. Signatories include ABC News, FactCheck.Org, and Snopes, among others.
Facebook is also improving the mechanism by which users can report fake news. Clicking on the upper right corner of a post will allow the user to report a story and mark it as fake news. The story will then be sent to the Network for review. If the members deem the story as fake news, it is labeled on Facebook as “disputed.” There will also be an accompanying explanation. It will still be possible to share the fake news story, but the user will be prompted to ensure that they are aware of it being fake. Items labelled as disputed will also rank lower in the News Feed.
Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg originally said that there was not a significant impact of fake news. “I think the idea that fake news on Facebook — of which it’s a small amount of content — influenced the election in any way is a pretty crazy idea,” he said. However, Zuckerberg had an about-face the following week and pledged to combat the issue of misinformation. These four steps are the result of his intentions, but more changes are intended.
Facebook has also taken steps to reduce the financial incentives towards posting fake news. BuzzFeed reported on Macedonian teens making thousands of dollars off of fake news. Facebook is making it harder for groups to impersonate other news organizations which is also a serious issue.