It’s been nearly 12 months since the U.S. election and the popularization of the term “fake news,” and Facebook is still fighting to ensure that the articles shown on its platform convey accurate information. As such, the social media giant has begun a new test designed to give users “additional context on the articles they see in News Feed.” Intended to help individuals make more informed decisions about the types of news that they read, share, and ultimately, believe, the new “i” button will give readers additional information about the source.
If you’re one of the users Facebook has chosen to participate in the test, you’ll see this little button in the upper right-hand corner above an article’s title. If you tap this button, you’ll be able to find additional contextual information about the publisher that is “pulled from across Facebook and other sources, such as information from the publisher’s Wikipedia entry, a button to follow their Page, trending articles, or related articles about the topic, and information about how the article is being shared by people on Facebook.”
As Facebook product manager Sara Su told TechCrunch, “People have told us that they want more information about what they’re reading. They want better tools to help them understand if an article is from a publisher they trust and evaluate if the story itself is credible.” And this is Facebook’s answer.
The feature is the latest tool to emerge from the Facebook Journalism Project, which has been combatting the spread of faulty information for many months, particularly around elections. But even if there isn’t an election around the corner, giving folks access to “important contextual information can help them evaluate if articles are from a publisher they trust, and if the story itself is credible.” The social network noted that the test is just in its beginning stages, and that user and publisher feedback will be taken into consideration moving forward.
In a blog post announcement, Facebook noted that most business Pages will not see “any significant changes to their distribution in News Feed as a result of this test.” That said, Pages are encouraged to use publishing best practices and post stories that will resonate with readers and are, of course, not fake news.