Facebook to flag 'disputed' stories to address fake news


Posted at Dec 16 2016 04:51 AM | Updated as of Dec 16 2016 11:31 AM

MANILA - Facebook said Friday (Manila time) that it will be working with independent third party fact-checking organizations to help them address the problem of hoaxes and fake news on its News Feed.

In its latest News Feed FYI, the social media giant said it has also made reporting fake news much easier. 

Now when a Facebook user clicks a "report post" option in the upper right drop-down button, he or she can choose "It is a fake news" as a reason for reporting the post.

The next step would also provide a "mark this as fake news" option for the Facebook user who wants to take action against the post.

Reporting fake news made easy. Photo: Facebook

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg said if many people report a story, the data will be sent to independent fact-checkers for assessment.

These fact-checkers are signatories of Poynter's International Fact-Checking Code of Principles. 

In the Philippines, the fact-checker recognized is "Vera Files Fact Check."

Check out the list of the fact-checkers here

"If the fact checkers agree a story is a hoax, you'll see a flag on the story saying it has been disputed, and that story may be less likely to show up in News Feed," he said in a Facebook post.

Facebook users will still be able to see and share these identified questionable posts but the stories will be marked as "disputed."

Facebook said it will provide a link explaining why the post has been mark as disputed. 

It added that while disputed posts may still be shared, they could not be turned into ads or promoted posts. 

What a "disputed" story looks like on the Facebook News Feed. Photo: Facebook

Moreover, Facebook said that it is also testing a new signal to incorporate in their News Feed ranking system. 

This new signal is based on reading behavior, especially since some Facebook users just read the headlines that could be misleading. 

"We've also found that if people who read an article are significantly less likely to share it than people who just read the headline, that may be a sign it's misleading. We're going to start incorporating this signal into News Feed ranking," said Zuckerberg. 

'Most fake news are financially motivated'

Facebook also said their researchers found out that a lot of fake news are financially motivated.

Spammers, Facebook explained, usually make money by disguising as news organizations and posting fake news to drive clicks on their websites. 

To address this problem, Facebook said it is now eliminating the ability to spoof legit domains, a move seen to lower the prevalence of sites pretending to be news organizations. 

"On the publisher side, we are analyzing publisher sites to detect where policy enforcement actions might be necessary," said Facebook. 

Zuckerberg said this will be just the first step they will be making to improve the quality of stories appearing on Facebook's News Feed.