Facebook, the social media giant where more and more people are getting their news from, is already getting rid of its fake news red flags a few months after their inception because they understood that the opposite effect was taking place.
In order to make it known to users that a certain piece of news information on the website was ‘disputed’ Facebook had introduced a red flag warning sign which would appear next to the article in question. However, Facebook users understood this seemingly in the same manner as an ‘Important’ message sign from outlook email, which is when a red exclamation sign is put next to an email at work.
Facebook said it would be rolling back the red flags, therefore, stating: “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. 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.”
Instead of doing so, the Mark Zuckerberg company will now be showing a selection of “related articles” next to stories which are in dispute.
The product manager responsible for Facebook newsfeed, Ms Tessa Lyons explained: "False news undermines the unique value that Facebook offers: the ability for you to connect with family and friends in meaningful ways. It’s why we’re investing in better technology and more people to help prevent the spread of misinformation."
"Overall, we’re making progress. Demoting false news as identified by fact-checkers is one of our best weapons because demoted articles typically lose 80 percent of their traffic. This destroys the economic incentives spammers and troll farms have to generate these articles in the first place."