Facebook Is Finally Cracking Down on Fake News

Conservatives are already freaking out.

HStocks/iSTock

Let our journalists help you make sense of the noise: Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter and get a recap of news that matters.


Facing backlash over claims it played a significant role in spreading viral fake news before the election, Facebook has released several test features aimed at halting the spread of misinformation in users’ News Feeds. The changes were unveiled on Thursday, and will first appear for a small portion of English-speaking users, before gradually rolling out to a wider population, Facebook said in a corporate blog post.

“We believe in giving people a voice and that we cannot become arbiters of truth ourselves, so we’re approaching this problem carefully,” Facebook’s News Feed VP Adam Mosseri wrote. “We’ve focused our efforts on the worst of the worst, on the clear hoaxes spread by spammers for their own gain, and on engaging both our community and third party organizations.”

The new features are a departure from Mark Zuckerberg’s initial dismissal of the idea that Facebook helped shape the outcome of the presidential election.

The strategy starts by enabling users to identify and report what they believe falls under the category of fake news:

Facebook

After the story is flagged, Facebook’s partners at four prominent fact checking organizations—Snopes, Politifact, FactCheck.org, and ABC—will then help determine whether the story in question is in fact fake. If it is, Facebook will attach a “disputed” message for any future posts that include the story’s link:

Facebook

Facebook will also attempt to block the users who masquerade as authentic news outlets. In the weeks since the presidential election, several fake news writers admitted to exploiting anti-Hillary Clinton fervor and people’s distrust for the media, saying the gig was simply too lucrative to quit.

Shortly after Facebook announced the new changes on Thursday, some conservatives denounced the efforts as a “disaster” and a leftist ploy:

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest