Facebook to (literally) shrink visibility of fake news shared on platform

Facebook has revealed that it will shrink the visual prominence of shared articles flagged as fake news on its platform.

Articles which are usually verified to be real news will appear full sized and 10 times larger than news flagged as fake, a TechCrunch report said. The report added that this follows user behaviour that saw more frequent sharing of fake news articles after the introduction of “red flags” on these articles.

The move is one out of two new measures in Facebook’s fight against the spread of fake news on its platform, the other being the use of machine learning to scan newly published articles for signs of falsehood. The measure will also be combined with other signals such as user reports which help in the prioritisation of articles in the fact-checking queue.

This allows fact-checkers to review articles already qualified to have falsehoods, ensuring a more efficient use of their time. The report added that the social media giant now employees 20 fact-checkers across several countries, and is currently on the lookout for additional partners.

Most recently, Facebook revealed its internal guidelines used in the enforcement of its Community Standards which explains what content stays up or gets pulled. Some new measures include giving users the right to appeal on its decisions regarding individual posts which have been taken down. Through the move, the social media giant looks to help people understand where it draws the line on nuanced issues as well as garner feedback in improving the guidelines and its decision-making process.

Last year, Facebook barred Pages which repeatedly share stories marked as false from advertising on its platform. This was following the impact of misinformation fed by fake news sites on the US presidential elections which eventually led to both Facebook and competitor Google declaring to block advertising revenue to fake news sites.

Meanwhile in February 2017, both companies teamed up together with 17 French news organisations to weed out the problem of fake news. This was through Google’s “CrossCheck” initiative which is launched by its News Lab arm. Other measures the social media giant had taken recently also included deprioritising the links that spammers share more frequently than regular users.

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