Facebook’s Latest Bright Idea to Fight Hoaxes Was to Promote Comments That Said ‘Fake’


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Facebook desires you to know that it’s dedicated to stopping the unfold of web hoaxes. But it requires some psychological gymnastics to know how signal-boosting feedback with the phrase “fake” in them would badist combat misinformation. In a current check, nonetheless, that’s precisely what the social community did.

As the BBC experiences, Facebook carried out an experiment final month the place messages containing the phrase “fake” had been pushed to the highest of remark threads under hyperlinks for some customers. Thus Facebook feedback under tales from The New York Times, the BBC, The Guardian, and different information retailers all started with messages stating “fake.”

“We’re always working on ways to curb the spread of misinformation on our platform, and sometimes run tests to find new ways to do this. This was a small test which has now concluded,” a Facebook spokesperson informed the BBC. “We wanted to see if prioritising comments that indicate disbelief would help. We’re going to keep working to find new ways to help our community make more informed decisions about what they read and share.”

Back in March, Facebook debuted a characteristic supposed to raised spotlight faux information tales on its web site by marking them as “disputed” by third-party fact-checkers. While this doesn’t stop customers from sharing a narrative, it offers them a non-partisan skilled opinion on the truthfulness of the article. But merely selling any remark with the phrase “fake” underneath tales which will really be respectable is a mystifying technique for curbing nonsense on the platform.

Facebook, after all, has a storied historical past of attempting out little “tests” on its customers. The firm messed with the emotional content material on the News Feeds of almost 70,000 customers in June 2014 to find out whether or not blissful or adverse content material on-line can straight have an effect on somebody’s temper. (It can.) The firm additionally experimented with an “I Voted” button on the platform for years to see the way it influenced voting habits. And in 2012, Facebook’s Data Science Team randomly hid hyperlinks a whole bunch of hundreds of thousands of instances to “badess how often people end up promoting the same links because they have similar information sources and interests,” based on Technology Review.

It’s exhausting to know whether or not Facebook sincerely believed that elevating feedback with the phrase “fake” in them would badist customers decide which tales had been factually correct. Or if, maybe, this was simply one other social experiment to see how these kinds of feedback affect its customers. We have reached out to Facebook for remark and can replace this story if and when it responds.

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