Humans come up trumps as Facebook rolls out its solution for fake news

WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF

  • Fake news is now regarded as one of the most politically destabilising developments in recent years, Facebook’s new solution hopes to turn the tide on the fakers


 

Ironically, for all the amazing things that artificial intelligence (AI) can do, from running Wall Street hedge funds to even running Mark Zuckerberg’s own house, it turns out that when it comes to spotting, and weeding out, fake news humans are still the best alternative. Hah, stupid AI… Yesterday social media giant Facebook announced that it’s launched its much hyped “fake news” crackdown initiative in the US, tagging as “Disputed” the stories that are deemed false by fact checking organisations.

 

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The new feature uses non-partisan third party organisations like Snopes and Politifact to assess the factual accuracy of stories reported as fake by users.

On its help centre page, Facebook has added a question “How is news marked as disputed on Facebook?” However, the section noted that this feature is not yet available to everyone, and it’s unclear how many people currently have access to the “fake news” debunking feature.

The new Disputed tool was first revealed by users on Twitter. Facebook had originally introduced a beta solution to tackle fake news stories last December, amid outcries that so called fake news influenced the outcome of the US presidential election, and now they’ve made it official by partnering with the third party signatories who’ve signed up to the Poynter’s International Fact Checking Code of Principles service that includes ABC News, FactCheck.org, Snopes and Politifact, among others.

 

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Stories that are flagged by Facebook users as ‘fake news’ will now be passed on to these fact checkers for verification, and if the fact checkers agree that the story is misleading, it’ll appear in News Feeds with a “disputed” tag, along with a link to a corresponding article explaining why it might be false. These posts then appear lower in the news feed and users will receive a warning before sharing the story.

Similar efforts are planned in Europe amid threats from the European Union to reduce on the spread of misinformation. The social networking site recently revealed fact checking partnerships in Germany and France ahead of respective elections in each country.

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