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:

IT'S NOT THAT WE'RE SCREWED WITHOUT TRUMP:

"It's that we're screwed with or without him if we can't show the public that what we do matters for the long term," writes Mother Jones CEO Monika Bauerlein as she kicks off our drive to raise $350,000 in donations from readers by July 17.

This is a big one for us. It's our first time asking for an outpouring of support since screams of FAKE NEWS and so much of what Trump stood for made everything we do so visceral. Like most newsrooms, we face incredibly hard budget realities, and it's unnerving needing to raise big money when traffic is down.

So, as we ask you to consider supporting our team's journalism, we thought we'd slow down and check in about where Mother Jones is and where we're going after the chaotic last several years. This comparatively slow moment is also an urgent one for Mother Jones: You can read more in "Slow News Is Good News," and if you're able to, please support our team's hard-hitting journalism and help us reach our big $350,000 goal with a donation today.

payment methods

IT'S NOT THAT WE'RE SCREWED WITHOUT TRUMP:

"It's that we're screwed with or without him if we can't show the public that what we do matters for the long term," writes Mother Jones CEO Monika Bauerlein as she kicks off our drive to raise $350,000 in donations from readers by July 17.

This is a big one for us. So, as we ask you to consider supporting our team's journalism, we thought we'd slow down and check in about where Mother Jones is and where we're going after the chaotic last several years. This comparatively slow moment is also an urgent one for Mother Jones: You can read more in "Slow News Is Good News," and if you're able to, please support our team's hard-hitting journalism and help us reach our big $350,000 goal with a donation today.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate