Fake news sites really got pushed into the forefront of people’s minds during and after the recent presidential election. Major companies like Facebook have gotten a lot of flack for allowing these types of fake news stories to gain traction and get shared by millions who ended up believing that they were true. Not surprisingly, many of these fake news sites were used by marketers trying to build up lists and generate sales. Other fake news sites would simply rely on ads, which could bring in thousands of dollars for a fake news story that went viral. While this is questionable ethically, it is undoubtedly effective.
Facebook has said they would make an effort to stop fake news, and now they have announced their plan of action on how to do it.
First, they are looking to improve detection of these types of stories. This involves putting technical monitoring systems in place to try to determine which stories are false before they even get shown to users. This is going to be a good system in the long term, but it will take some time to ‘learn’ the difference between true and false news stories.
The next change Facebook is going to roll out is making it easier for users to report news stories as false. This will work similar to all their other flagging options, but more streamlined to make it less of an inconvenience for their users.
When stories are flagged as fake, Facebook will send the stories to a third party fact checking organization. The organizations involved are part of the Poynter’s International Fact Checking Network. When they find that a story is fake, they will add in a link to a corresponding article that lists the reasons why it was deemed to be fake news.
Finally, Facebook is considering adding ‘warnings’ to stories that have been reported as fake. This way when people see them, they know that there is at least a high likelihood that the information within the link is not legit.
Stories that are identified as fake will also have a lower priority in the News Feed of users, so they will get less traffic. The bottom line, any marketers who were raking in big money by publishing fake news stories are likely to see a huge drop in their revenue in the coming days.