Facebook tries to alert users when an item in the news feed is satire. Now, it will tip off users to hoaxes, as well.
The Internet is full of silly, obviously fake content, such as pictures of giant waves engulfing entire cities. Facebook doesn’t want those to appear in the news feed, so it has added an option for users to report an item in their news feed as false, the company said Tuesday.
If enough people report a piece of content, a notification will be added to it saying “Many people on Facebook have reported that this story contains false information.” Facebook didn’t say how many times an item will have to be flagged to trigger the warning.
Facebook said it won’t remove the posts identified as false. But they’ll likely appear less often in users’ news feeds, in part because users might delete them or share them less frequently.
The effort to screen out fake items isn’t just about keeping people informed. Users can typically spot such hoaxes.
Rather, the initiative is part of Facebook’s effort to make the news feed more useful so users spend more time and come back more often. Facebook calls this packing the feed with “high quality content.”
Previously, Facebook cut down on “click bait,” or articles that aim to entice readers into clicking on worthless content. It also made it harder for marketers to get items in the news feed for free, prodding those companies to buy ads.
Facebook software engineer Erich Owens and product manager Chris Turitzin blogged about the change here.