Opinion

Facebook Updates Policy To Combat Fake News

Facebook announced in a blog post Monday that the social media behemoth will update its approach to combatting “false news” by blocking Pages from advertising stories marked as false.

“This update will help to reduce the distribution of false news which will keep Pages that spread false news from making money. We’ve found instances of Pages using Facebook ads to build their audiences in order to distribute false news more broadly,” writes Facebook product managers Satwik Shukla and Tessa Lyons. “Now, if a Page repeatedly shares stories that have been marked as false by third-party fact-checkers, they will no longer be able to buy ads on Facebook …”

Prior to the new update, Facebook did not allow advertisers to run ads linked to stories that are marked false by “third-party fact-checking organizations.”

Facebook’s strategy to “fight the spread of false news” is threefold: Disrupt the economic incentives to create it, build new products to curb its proliferation, and help people make more informed decisions when encountering it.

Shortly after Election Day 2016, Facebook announced a crack down on “fake news” after reports surfaced that Russians were exploiting “American-made technology platforms to attack U.S. democracy,” according to The Washington Post.

ABC News, The Associated Press, FactCheck.org, Politifact and Snopes are the third-party fact-checkers Facebook is referring to, according to a Fox News report in December 2016. Facebook’s announcement may raise questions as to their impartiality and methodology in determining exactly what is false news.

“False news is harmful to our community. It makes the world less informed and erodes trust” according to Shukla and Lyons. “Today’s update helps to disrupt the economic incentives and curb the spread of false news, which is another step towards building a more informed community on Facebook.”

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