Facebook Rolls Out Fake News Labeling Tool Following Backlash

by Lauren C. Williams –

A third-party company will fact check stories and outlets.

Fake news on Facebook will now come with a warning, thanks to a new feature the company debuted Thursday.

Using a third-party verification service, false stories on Facebook will be “flagged” with a red label that reads “disputed by 3rd Party Fact-Checkers.” Users can click the label to learn more about why the information was deemed unreliable.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg mentioned the tool was in the works, along with better reporting tools, in a statement addressing criticism of earlier comments minimizing the potential effects of fake news.

Facebook has been adamant about staying neutral, maintaining the company is not responsible for determining fact from fiction. Instead, the social network has enlisted the help of dedicated fact-checking organizations that have pledged to uphold Poynter’s International Fact Checking Code of Principles. Over 40 organizations worldwide have signed on. Users are also encouraged to report content that could be hoaxes.

Facebook’s fact-checking warning tool is the latest in response to the spread of fake news that accelerated following the election — an issue that took a serious turn when a man fired a rifle in a Washington, D.C. pizza shop because of an anti-Hillary Clinton conspiracy theory.

Two browser extensions have recently been developed to help readers identify potentially dubious sites and content. Slate released a Chrome version called “This Is Fake,” which flags fabricated stories and links to fact-based news reports or research. Another Chrome extension, “Fake News Alert,” goes a bit further, flagging satire sites along with sites that are heavily biased or have incomplete facts. That plugin is based on a list of sites compiled by a communications professor for her students, which went viral following the presidential election.

Reprinted with permission from Think Progress, a branch of The Center for American Progress