Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook has kept its word and finally launched the much-awaited ‘disputed’ tag to fight ‘fake news’ on its famous social networking site. Though currently only active in the United States, the initiative will see Facebook tagging stories that are deemed false by facts with a disputed tag. The stories reported fake by the Facebook users will be checked for factual accuracy by non-partisan third-party organisations like Politifact and Snopes.
The social networking site has also added a question on its help centre page explaining in detail how they will be marking a news as disputed on the platform. The section mentions that the feature isn’t yet available to everyone but it is still unclear about how many users currently have access to the tool.
The new tool first came to limelight on Twitter, when excited users shared the screenshots which identified links to websites that are infamous for producing misinformation and false stories.
Facebook finally decided to launch a crackdown on fake news stories after 13 years of its launch in the light of the massive backlash it received in November last year that the so-called fake news on the platform had influenced the outcome of the US presidential election. In December, Facebook decided to do some damage control by announcing that it has joined hands with fact checkers that are signatories of the journalism non-profit Poynter’s International Fact Checking Code of Principles and included ABC News, FactCheck.org,Snopes and Politifact.
News stories which are reported fake by Facebook users will be forwarded to these fact checkers for verification of facts. If upon observation, the fact-checkers agree that the story does contain some false facts which can be misleading, they will then appears in Facebook’s News Feed with a “disputed” tag, along with a link to a corresponding article explaining why it has been given the tag. Such stories will also rank lower in the News Feed and each time a user shares the story on their timeline, they will receive a warning making them aware of the disputed tag allotted to the story.
While for now the tool has only been launched in the US, but Facebook is continuously making efforts to make it available in every region that the social networking site is currently active in. A special focus is being allocated to Europe amid threats from the European Union on reducing the spread of misinformation. Facebook recently announced fact checking partnerships in France and Germany in the light of the coming elections in each of the country.