Facebook’s fake-news flag no longer flies as related articles take over

Facebook fake news
Facebook
Facebook’s ongoing battle against fake news is moving forward as the company removes one tool and replaces it with another. On Wednesday, December 20, the company announced that the disputed flags will no longer be used to alert the user to potential Facebook fake news but that potential fakes will instead show related articles to offer more context.

Facebook says that the change is based both on academic research and its own studies of user interactions. “Academic research on correcting misinformation has shown that putting a strong image, like a red flag, next to an article may actually entrench deeply held beliefs – the opposite effect to what we intended,” wrote Tessa Lyons, Facebook product manager. “Related Articles, by contrast, are simply designed to give more context, which our research has shown is a more effective way to help people get to the facts. Indeed, we’ve found that when we show Related Articles next to a false news story, it leads to fewer shares than when the Disputed Flag is shown.”

Facebook says that while the flag alerted users to fake news, the label didn’t help users determine which part of the article was false. Another problem is that the icon required at least two fact checkers to determine its accuracy before giving the piece that false label. In many cases, Facebook says, false articles were slipping through because there weren’t enough organizations in that particular area to check the facts.

After testing Related Articles earlier this year, Facebook says that using relevant links with the original article led to fewer shares. Those additional links often include articles from the same fact-checking organizations that provided information for those disputed flags. The articles help readers see not only that the article isn’t correct, but what part of the data is off. Between the two different techniques, while shares dropped with related articles, clicks to the full article were the same as with the disputed flag icon.

Facebook is also launching a new initiative that will further the company’s research on fake news and how to prevent its spread. The company says the expanded research won’t be obvious right away, but could help the platform improve over time.

The social media platform has launched several tools over the last year designed to curb fake news, including that now obsolete disputed flag as well as an “i” icon to learn more about the source, new trust indicators, and eliminating the ability to edit a link preview.

Emerging Tech

How emotion-tracking A.I. will change computing as we know it

Affectiva is just one of the startups working to create emotion-tracking A.I. that can work out how you're feeling. Here's why this could change the face of computing as we know it.
Social Media

Geek out for premieres or get lost in related threads with Reddit’s new tools

Can't find the Game of Thrones thread until after the episode already aired? Reddit's new event tool allows users to get alerts when an event is about to start, such as a premiere. The collections tool also helps organize related posts.
Cars

The 2020 Toyota Yaris offers big car tech in a small, Mazda-flavored package

Toyota resurrected the Yaris nameplate with a little bit of help from Mazda. Closely related to the Mazda2, the hatchback now stands out with a sharper design than before, and tech features normally found on bigger, more expensive cars.
Social Media

Facebook says it unintentionally uploaded email contacts of 1.5 million users

Facebook says that over the last two years it unintentionally uploaded the email contacts of 1.5 million users as they signed up to the social networking service. The process has ended and the email addresses are being deleted.
Social Media

How to download Instagram Stories on iOS, Android, and desktop

Curious about how to save someone's Instagram Story to your phone? Lucky for you, it can be done -- but it does take a few extra steps. Here's what you need to know to save Instagram Stories on both iOS and Android.
Social Media

Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp went down worldwide for 2 hours this morning

Chaos erupted on the internet this morning, as Facebook, Instagram, and Whatsapp all went down from 6:30 a.m. to approximately 9 a.m. Thousands of users were unable to access the sites or send or receive Whatsapp messages.
Mobile

Skype screen sharing for mobile will let you share your swipes on dating apps

Skype is prepping the launch of screen sharing for mobile so you can share your swipes on dating apps, shop with buddies, or, perhaps, show a PowerPoint presentation to coworkers. It's in beta just now, but anyone can try it.
Social Media

Facebook toys with mixing Stories and News Feed into one swipeable carousel

Facebook's News Feed could look a lot like Stories if a prototype the social media giant is working on rolls out to users. The design change mixes Stories and News Feed posts into a full-screen slideshow that users swipe left to navigate.
Social Media

No more moon showers as Facebook Messenger’s dark mode gets official rollout

Facebook Messenger launched a dark mode last month, but to activate it you had to message the crescent moon to someone. Now it's been rolled out officially, and it can be accessed in a far more sensible way — via settings.
News

Twitter has revealed a launch date for its handy hide replies features

Twitter has revealed a launch date for a feature that lets users hide replies to their tweets. The hope is that it will help the original poster filter out offensive or irrelevant content from conversation threads.
Smart Home

Oh, Zuck, no! Facebook rumored to be creating a voice assistant to rival Alexa

Facebook hasn't been a big player in the smart speaker market, but that may be changing: The social media giant is reportedly working on a digital assistant to compete against Alexa and others.
Digital Trends Live

Digital Trends Live: Facebook data security, Ubisoft helps Notre Dame, and more

Join DT Live as we discuss Facebook security issues, Ubisoft's plan to help rebuild Notre Dame, and more. We are also joined by Emily Teteut of Snap the Gap, Jennifer Sendrow of New York Public Radio, and DJ and producer Zeke Thomas.
Photography

After controversial video, China bans ‘Leica’ on social media

A video that referenced Tiananmen Square got the name of the camera company Leica banned from the social media platform Weibo. Leica says the video wasn't an officially sanctioned promotion.
Photography

Photography News: Instagram’s disappearing likes, the best photos of the year

In this week's Photography News, see why Instagram is testing a version that excludes the number of likes a post gets. Also, see the impressive winners from two photography contests and the latest features coming to the Fujifilm X-T3.