Facebook Flagging ‘Fake News’ Has Begun

Sorry, that’s “disputed” news.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg promised last year to get a handle on the “fake news” that permeates his social media platform and since the weekend has implemented his new flagging system, marking what it calls “disputed” news.

One of the most publicized “disputed” articles so far is one from The Seattle Tribune, a satire website that announces itself as such, and its article, “Trump’s Android Device Believed to be Source of Recent White House Leaks.” Many users shared that post not realizing it was satire and apologized to their followers after it was flagged. And even though it got this one right, is it a fool-proof system?

The USA Today reports, “Facebook has been reluctant to put itself in the position of judging what content is misleading, resisting calls that it has become a de facto news publisher, exercising editorial judgment with the power to sway the minds of billions.”

The report lists how fake news is flagged:

To flag a fake news article, users click on the upper right hand corner of a post. Facebook says its algorithms are also rooting out fake articles.

News articles flagged by users will be sent to third-party fact-checking organizations that are part of Poynter's International Fact Checking Network, Facebook says. If the article is identified as fake by the fact-checking organizations, it will get flagged as "disputed" and there will be a link to an article explaining why. Stories that have been disputed will also get pushed down in News Feed.

Facebook users who try to share a disputed article are asked if they are sure they want to share it.

However, it won’t take long for users to flag content from legitimate conservative sources because they don’t like the content. It remains to be seen if Facebook’s algorithm will catch that bias or not.

Meanwhile, Matt Drudge announced on Twitter on Tuesday that Facebook accounts bearing his name and website were counterfeits:

Issues

People

Organizations