Facebook have released an algorithm designed to prevent users from seeing fake stories. Users across the world have been duped into believing hoax stories, but changes being made to Facebook’s mechanism should make them a thing of the past. The social media site is allowing users to flag stories as “purposefully fake or deceitful news”. Flagging should prevent the story from being distributed any further.
The company says: “A post with a link to an article that many people have reported as a hoax or chose to delete will get reduced distribution in the News Feed.” Posters of hoax stories have been accused of inciting hatred in the past. Some people have even faced legal action after deliberately posting fake news stories in order to incite hatred. Not all fake stories have been published to cause outrage however, with some more outlandish posts reporting fake dinosaur sightings and stories about Santa Claus.
Some fake stories have gone viral, with users recently being duped into believing recurring fake story about Facebook owning the copyright of users’ photos and videos. One fake story duped English users into believing that a pub had banned military personnel, causing staff to be threatened. The user who posted the story was later branded as “moronic” by security expert Graham Cluley.
Facebook has admitted that around 80 million accounts are likely to be fake and has been accused of not doing enough to remove fake stories from its service. It’s estimated that around a third of all North American adults get their news from Facebook. The changes don’t affect satirical sites that make it clear that their stories are bogus.
Have you ever been fooled into believing a fake story? Are you glad Facebook are finally making these changes? Tell us your thoughts below.