Skip to main content

Facebook is now making it easier to spot a fake — before even clicking that link

Facebook Pages
Marcel De Grijs / 123RF
Facebook Related Articles have been popping up for a few years — but now the social media platform is loading related stories before the user clicks, all in the name of fighting fake news. Pre-click Related Articles, which began testing in April, begin rolling out on Facebook today in the U.S., Germany, France, and the Netherlands today, August 3.

With the change, hovering over a link will show articles related to the story — often including articles from fact checkers like Scopes, or alternative views to a similar subject. With Related Articles popping up before the click, the idea is that articles deemed fake will get fewer clicks when similar stories suggest the article is false.

The feature could potentially prevent users from sharing the article based on the headline alone before actually reading it, if the Related Articles suggest the link is false. The selection of articles from multiple sources could also encourage users to make their own decision on controversial topics by displaying more than one perspective on the same topic.

The feature also helps prevent the spread of fake news without giving Facebook the responsibility of determining which news is legitimate, the company told Tech Crunch. The Related Articles are vetted in the same way as the Trending topics, which means posts that have multiple comments suggesting the story is false won’t show up there. A similar ranking system as News Feed articles will determine which articles show up in that Related pop-up.

The pre-click Related Articles are part of Facebook’s ongoing efforts to fight false information, hoaxes, and click bait, prompted in part after the “trending” section promoted false information. The platform’s algorithm for detecting such stories is also improving, the company says, resulting in more links being sent for human verification.

In addition to the new Related Articles popping up before clicking on that link, Facebook also allows users to flag potential fake news with a disputed news tag that lets users know the story is questionable. Links that have been verified as false are tagged with that information for users to see, while those stories that are marked as fake show up lower in the news feed.

Operators of Facebook Pages also now have to prove they own the website before modifying the headline and text in the link preview, a feature which some spammers used to make it appear as though a false headline came from a respected source.

The feature is rolling out first to the four countries that Facebook has already been working with for fact checking, including Germany, where Justice Minister Heiko Maas recently called out for prosecution for defamation and malicious gossip spread on social media.

Hillary K. Grigonis
Hillary never planned on becoming a photographer—and then she was handed a camera at her first writing job and she's been…
Facebook is hiring actual human journalists to fight fake news
How to spot fake news

Facebook is looking to hire journalists whose job will be to fight fake news on your news feed. 

The New York Times reports that the new initiative will be called News Tab. The social media giant said it plans to hire a team of journalists that will curate a dedicated news section within the mobile app. Facebook posted job listings for journalists on Tuesday, August 20. 

Read more
Facebook just deleted fake accounts from the Middle East
facebook journalism grants login smartphone

Facebook removed fake accounts originating from United Arab Emirates (UAE), Egypt, and Saudi Arabia because of “coordinated inauthentic behavior.” 

The social network announced in a blog post from Nathaniel Gleicher, head of cybersecurity policy at Facebook, the removal of pages, groups, and accounts that originated in these countries. The two separate operations included one between the UAE and Egypt and one from Saudi Arabia.

Read more
How to make a GIF from a YouTube video
woman sitting and using laptop

Sometimes, whether you're chatting with friends or posting on social media, words just aren't enough -- you need a GIF to fully convey your feelings. If there's a moment from a YouTube video that you want to snip into a GIF, the good news is that you don't need complex software to so it. There are now a bunch of ways to make a GIF from a YouTube video right in your browser.

If you want to use desktop software like Photoshop to make a GIF, then you'll need to download the YouTube video first before you can start making a GIF. However, if you don't want to go through that bother then there are several ways you can make a GIF right in your browser, without the need to download anything. That's ideal if you're working with a low-specced laptop or on a phone, as all the processing to make the GIF is done in the cloud rather than on your machine. With these options you can make quick and fun GIFs from YouTube videos in just a few minutes.
Use GIFs.com for great customization
Step 1: Find the YouTube video that you want to turn into a GIF (perhaps a NASA archive?) and copy its URL.

Read more