Facebook and fake news

Much has been made of Facebook and fake news. As I understand the concern, the problem is a combination of two factors: a) some individuals rely on Facebook as their major source of news and b) Facebook is going to prioritize “news” shared by those you follow. The result of these two factors can be that you view fake news likely to feed your personal biases.

Facebook has made efforts to address this criticism. Recently, the company has added methods for contesting posts for various reasons. To make use of these methods, you begin by using the drop-down menu associated with a post you find objectionable.

The “report post” option will take you through a hierarchical series of options for stating your concern.

When considering what seems a “crowd sourcing” approach to identifying fake news I wondered how the credibility of claims would be established. I imagined the type of situation faced by Wikipedia when groups with differing opinions change a post back and forth to communicate their positions.

This is what Facebook says about their approach:

You may see that certain news stories are marked as disputed on Facebook. News stories that are reported as fake by people on Facebook may be reviewed by independent third-party fact-checkers. These fact-checkers will be signatories of the non-partisan Poynter Code of Principles. A story may be marked as disputed if these fact-checkers find the story to be fake.

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