Facebook’s Fake News Problem

shutterstock_526320127Facebook is working to rid its platform of fake news stories and misinformation. Since the 2016 presidential election, the company has received intense criticism for the circulation of false stories that many believed to be true. You may have seen some of these posts, like ones that said the Pope endorsed Donald Trump. The headline read “Pope Francis Shocks the World, Endorses Donald Trump.” According to Buzzfeed, it became the most widely shared post on Facebook.

How is Facebook dealing with this?

CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his team have been working hard to address the issue of fake news. The company is updating former processes and testing new ways to alert users of fake content. Here’s how they’re tackling the problem:

The company is enlisting help from third parties and Facebook users. According to an NPR investigation, Facebook uses subcontractors around the world to evaluate the platform’s flagged content. Users flag posts they consider inappropriate or untrue, and the posts are sent to subcontractors who work quickly to decide whether or not to remove the flagged content. NPR estimated that each subcontractor could be clearing up to 2,880 posts a day.

Facebook is testing warning labels on posts. Tech Crunch reported that recent Facebook tests have been labeling questionable news links with red warning labels that say, “This website is not a reliable news source. Reason: Classification Pending.” The test is being run on approximately 1.79 billion users, and whether or not it will be rolled out is to be determined.

How can you report a fake story?

If you spot false news or misinformation, you can do something about it. Facebook is making it easier for users to report fake stories they see on their News Feed. Just follow these steps:

  1. When you see a false news story, click on the “v” drop-down menu located in the top, right-hand corner of the post.
  2. Select “Report post” from the drop-down menu.
  3. A box will pop up that asks you what’s going on. Choose the option that says “I think it shouldn’t be on Facebook”
  4. Click continue
  5. Another box will pop to ask you “what’s wrong with this post?” Select “It’s a false news story.”

That’s all it takes to help Facebook reduce fake news posts and misinformation in your feed.