Facebook Ditches Another Fake News-Fighting Initiative

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Burying bogus items at the bottom of the News Feed typically results in the demoted info losing 80 percent of traffic, according to Facebook. In a new post, the company claims it is ditching disputed flags in favor of an improved version of its related articles feature, which it originally began testing in April.

However it seems that Facebook has decided that this isn't the best way to go about it, and are now changing how fake news articles are being flagged and displayed.

Facebook no longer displays red warning icons next to fake news stories shared on the platform, as it says the approach has not worked as hoped.

After getting dragged around the time of the general election, Facebook has spent much of this year taking steps to combat the spread of misinformation on its site.

If that process sounds excessively manual, given Facebook's devotion to the power of the algorithm, you may be right: in discussing the demise of "Disputed", news feed product designer Jeff Smith (writing with co-authors Grace Jackson and Seetha Raj) blamed a dearth of fact-checkers as one of the problems with the flag.

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"Disputed flags were only applied after two third-party fact-checking organizations determined an article was false because it was a strong visual signal and we wanted to set a high bar for where we applied it". "Just because something is marked as "false" or "disputed" doesn't necessarily mean we will be able to change someone's opinion about its accuracy".

People who do try and share a disputed article are showed a pop-up with links to fact-checked sources.

"We have a generation of people that are so anti-establishment and sceptical of evidence-based news, we need regulation of the type imposed on broadcasters since they first emerged".

Tim Peterson, Third Door Media's Social Media Reporter, has been covering the digital marketing industry since 2011. He has also developed tools to monitor brands' early adoption of live-streaming apps, compare Yahoo's and Google's search designs and examine the NFL's YouTube and Facebook video strategies.

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