Critics have called out Facebook for its seemingly lax approach to fake news. In response, the platform took the first step towards fighting misinformation early this year: Prohibiting the purchase of ads that link to known fake news sites.
Now, they’re taking things a notch higher.
Facebook now prevents any Page that is a known purveyor of fake news from purchasing ads on the platform. Here’s what Facebook Product Managers Tessa Lyons and Satwik Shukla said in an official Facebook blog post:
“If Pages repeatedly share stories marked as false, these repeat offenders will no longer be allowed to advertise on Facebook. This update will help to reduce the distribution of false news which will keep Pages that spread false news from making money.”
Of course, Facebook isn’t shooting in the dark here. The platform has a third-party team of fact checkers to assess the veracity of shared articles.
“False news is harmful to our community,” Lyons and Shukla said. “It makes the world less informed and erodes trust.”
The reality behind fake news
The concept of fake news has existed for centuries. One of the earliest examples was when Rameses the Great commissioned a series of fake texts to portray the Battle of Kadesh – which evidence shows was more likely a stalemate between the Egyptians and the Hittites – as an indisputable victory for the Egyptians. With the advent of the internet, however, the reach of fake news and its consequences have been greatly magnified.
Some of the worst offenders are the so-called click farms. These are websites that generate revenue from posting fake news with clickbait titles. However, more sinister agendas may actually be hiding behind your computer screen.
“We’ve found instances of Pages using Facebook ads to build their audiences in order to distribute false news more broadly,” said Lyons and Shukla.
Fake news: An international problem
Both the US and Europe have had issues with fabricated stories on social media, especially during their respective elections. The Philippines in particular has a major problem with fake news. Some of the most vocal social media influencers — many of which are aligned with the current administration — have been accused of misleading their followers with fabricated news posts.
The popular search engine Google also joins Facebook in its mission to quash fake news. Google recently implemented a multilingual fact-checking tag functionality, with a team of fact-checkers verifying all news items on the search engine’s results pages. –MF
Author: Tomas Pedrosa
A graduate of Information Design, a versatile writer, and an avid gamer, Tomas prides himself in his willingness to gain new experiences and perspectives, and to apply what he learns in his other pursuits. Curiosity, interest, and obsession—these are the mile markers that keep him going down his road.