Have you been paying attention to the uproar about fake news popping up on the internet lately? It's become such a problem that Facebook and Google are starting to crack down on sites that promote misinformation.
Some people believe that there were so many misleading stories on Facebook, it may have swayed some votes in this year's presidential election. In an effort to reassure people that the information found on Facebook is legitimate, CEO Mark Zuckerberg talked about what the social networking site is doing to combat the problem.
Zuckerberg said the company's goal is to connect people with stories that are most meaningful to them. He said that people want those stories to be accurate. Zuckerberg said the company takes this issue seriously and has made significant progress in eliminating fake news, but more needs to be done.
In the past, Facebook has relied on its community to help determine what is fake and what is real. Users can report any links they believe are false and Facebook uses myth-busting sites to help determine what stories are fake. Even though Zuckerberg said the amount of misinformation being circulated is relatively small, the company still needs to address it.
Facebook's plan to combat fake news
With all of the talk of fake news populating the internet, Mark Zuckerberg addressed the issue over the weekend. He said Facebook takes misinformation seriously and has been working on the problem for a long time. Here are some of the steps that Zuckerberg announced Facebook is taking to combat misinformation:
- Stronger detection - The most important thing they can do is improve their ability to classify misinformation. This means better technical systems to detect what people will flag as false before they do it themselves.
- Easy reporting - Making it much easier for people to report stories as fake will help them catch more misinformation faster.
- Third-party verification - There are many respected fact-checking organizations and, while Facebook has reached out to some, they plan to learn from many more.
- Warnings - The site is exploring labeling stories that have been flagged as false by third parties or their community, and showing warnings when people read or share them.
- Related articles quality - They are raising the bar for stories that appear in related articles under links in News Feed.
- Disrupting fake news economics - A lot of misinformation is driven by financially motivated spam. They're looking into disrupting the economics with ads policies like the one they announced earlier this week, and better ad farm detection.
- Listening - The site will continue to work with journalists and others in the news industry to get their input, in particular, to better understand their fact checking systems and learn from them.
Here is Zuckerberg's Facebook post addressing the issue:
One major problem Facebook could run into is restricting accurate content by mistake. Zuckerberg said the company should not be the arbiters of truth on its own. This is why it has relied on its community and trusted third-party sites in the past.
Sticking with sites that you have trusted for years is the best way to know the stories you read are accurate. Have you seen any of these fake news stories online? Leave a comment and tell us about any misleading news that you have come across.