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:

THE TRUTH IS...

what drives Mother Jones' team of 50-plus journalists. The truth is powerful, as evidenced by how hard those with something to hide, or profit to gain, seek to discredit it. The truth, stated boldly and reported meticulously, is what draws so many readers to Mother Jones.

And the truth is, going into the final 4 days of the year we still needed to raise $TK to hit our $350,000 goal and start 2021 on track. It's nerve-wracking, wondering if the big spike we normally see at the end of December is going to be another thing that doesn't go as planned in 2020, or worse, if, now that Donald Trump is set to leave the White House (for longer than a taxpayer-funded golf trip to a property he owns), folks might be pulling back from fighting for the truth and a democracy and think the hard work is done.

It's not, and if you can right now, please consider a year-end donation to support our team's fearless nonprofit journalism so we can close that big fundraising gap and finish the year strong, ready for all that's ahead in 2021. Whether you can give $5 or $500, it all matters in keeping us charging hard, and we'd be grateful.

payment methods

THE TRUTH IS...

what drives Mother Jones' team of 50-plus journalists. The truth is powerful, as evidenced by how hard those with something to hide, or profit to gain, seek to discredit it. The truth, stated boldly and reported meticulously, is what draws so many readers to Mother Jones.

And the truth is, going into the final 4 days of the year we still needed to raise $TK to hit our $350,000 goal and start 2021 on track. It's nerve-wracking, wondering if the big spike we normally see at the end of December is going to be another thing that doesn't go as planned in 2020, or worse, if, now that Donald Trump is set to leave the White House (for longer than a taxpayer-funded golf trip to a property he owns), folks might be pulling back from fighting for the truth and a democracy and think the hard work is done.

It's not, and if you can right now, please consider a year-end donation to support our team's fearless nonprofit journalism so we can close that big fundraising gap and finish the year strong, ready for all that's ahead in 2021. Whether you can give $5 or $500, it all matters in keeping us charging hard, and we'd be grateful.

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