Facebook asks users to join the fight against ‘sensationalism’ and ‘misinformation’
It seems that Mark Zuckerberg has finally decided to do something about the enormous influx of fake news that has been plaguing Facebook for years – and he has asked for our help to do it.
Faced with a constant criticism that his social media has been twisted into a ferocious propaganda machine, the entrepreneur has announced a two-fold attack on publications that use Facebook to spread, as he put it, ‘sensationalism, misinformation, and polarization’.
According to Mr. Zuckerberg, this new approach will see Facebook trim the number of posts from publishers and brands on user’s news feed to 4 percent, and shift its focus on showing more posts from family and friends.
Additionally, he wrote on his Facebook account, the company will prioritize news from ‘trusted sources’ over publications with a suspicious background, with users to decide for themselves which publishers they deem ‘trustworthy’.
But how will users determine which publications are trustworthy and which aren’t? – That is the question.
Well, in order to get around this problem, Facebook is planning to launch quality surveys that will ask a broad range of users if they know a particular news source and whether they consider that news source reliable.
Mr. Zuckerberg said this methodology would help filter out fake news publications that pollute the public opinion and cause serious harm to the company’s reputation.
The criticism leveled at Facebook about its fake news problem took a whole new dimension following the US presidential elections in 2016 when it was alleged that fake news stories circulating on the social network might have affected the election’s outcome.
Mr. Zuckerberg was quick to deny that his company had influenced the voters in any way shape or form, but it was soon revealed that many publishers definitely abused the company’s algorithm and took advantage of its vast audience of roughly 2 billion people to share fake and sensationalist stories and push their own agenda forward.
Truth be told, Facebook did try (and fail) to tackle the new problem with a string of measures, including by joining forces with reputable news organizations and by using computer programs designed to spot hoaxes.
At the time, many saw this as a half-hearted attempt to address the fake news problem and appease its audience, and Mr. Zurkerberg all but admitted that the company had lost the battle when he called on Facebook users to help with the purge.
It remains to be seen whether Facebook’s new strategy of involving its audience in the war against the propaganda machine will deliver the goods, but Mr. Zuckerberg is adamant that he is determined to put an end to the problem once and for all.
“My hope is that this update about trusted news and last week’s update about meaningful interactions will help make time on Facebook time well spent,” reads his latest Facebook post.