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article imageFacebook drops potential fake news warning flag

By Tim Sandle     Dec 23, 2017 in Internet
Despite an earlier commitment, in the post-Trump world, to combat fake news, Facebook has dropped its 'fake news' warning flag. The social media site offers an alternative news 'suggestion' link instead.
Fake news has always featured across the Internet and social media; however, the predominance of news stories based more on opinion than fact became more prevalent during the 2016 U.S. presidential election where it became easier for some politicians to make statements that were poorly thought out and not based on proven research. many social media sites faced criticism for the way such stories were presented as news, rather than as 'opinion pieces'.
One such site was Facebook. Indeed Facebook was deemed to be a major player in the U.S. presidential election for hosting 'news stories' that were no necessarily grounded in factual content. For instance, in an inquiry published in The Guardian, Facebook was accused of abdicating its responsibility to clamp down on fake news stories and counter the echo chamber that defined the Trump election.
Similarly The New Statesman noted how 1.7 billion Facebook users could have stumbled across articles appearing 'legitimate' which suggested that the Pope backed Donald Trump and that Hilary Clinton was dying. While those more savvy could cross check such claims against established media sites, many other readers would have taken such articles on face value.
Faced with charges of blurring factual news with opinion pieces, and allowing the U.S. alt-right a platform, Facebook agreed to flag stories purporting to be news which the social media giant felt were, in fact, suspect or simply polemical writings. In addition, as Wired reported, Facebook would also let readers suggest fake news stories for the media giant to review.
In place for less than one year, the Facebook scheme has nor been dropped according to The Daily Telegraph. Facebook no longer displays red warning icons next to fake news stories shared on the platform, stating that the approach has not worked as well as originally hoped.
According to Facebook the 'red flag' option tended to entrench deeply held beliefs', rather than calling associated stories as suspect. Instead Facebook will display 'related articles' next to disputed news stories, according to the BBC. Whether this seemingly softer approach to news regulation will be effective in combating Trump era 'fake news' and non-fact based journalism remains to be seen
More about Facebook, Warning, Red flag