18th February 2020

How Facebook is handling misinformation through fact-checking

This year in May, Facebook and its products (Facebook, Instagram) started fact-checking integration on its platform through third-part partners, to help users see content that is more accurate.

“Photo and video based misinformation is increasingly a challenge across our industry, and something our teams have been focused on addressing.” – Instagram

They are fighting this misinformation in 3 main ways, according to

  • Removing accounts and content that violate our policies
  • Reducing the distribution of false news and the financial incentives to create it
  • Informing people by giving them more context on the stories they see.

But have they been successful?

Facebook says it has expanded to more countries with more countries and are independent and certified through the non-partisan International Fact-Checking Network. How does it all work?

  • Facebook uses technology to identify potentially false stories. For example, when people on Facebook submit feedback about a story being false or comment on an article expressing disbelief, these are signals that a story should be reviewed.
  • Fact-checkers provide a rating and reference article. Independent third-party fact-checkers review the stories, rate their accuracy and write an article explaining the facts behind their rating.
  • Facebook demotes links rated false and provide more context on Facebook. If a story is rated false, its distribution is reduced in News Feed. Facebook also lets people who try to share the story know there’s more reporting on the subject, and notifies people who shared it earlier.
  • Facebook takes action against repeat offenders. If a Facebook Page or website repeatedly shares misinformation, it will have its overall distribution of the Page or website reduced, not just individual false articles.Facebook will also cut off its ability to make money or advertise on their services.

If a  page owner has a dispute with what Facebook decides about a post they can contest it to allow stay on the platform or allow for a correction of the piece of information.

However, there are limitations to where this fact-checking happens. There are too many users from too many countries in which Facebook may not have partners in. Others have differing levels of what is acceptable to say online, and Facebook says it respects freedom of expression.

“We strongly believe that people should be able to debate different ideas, even controversial ones. We also recognize there can be a fine line between misinformation and satire or opinion. For example, sometimes people try to call their sites “satire” as cover for their true motivation — to spread fake stories. This can make it more difficult for fact-checkers to assess whether an article should be rated “false” or left alone.” – Facebook

Have you ever reported a page or individual for sharing misinformation and actually seen it taken down or deleted?

Sandi

Tech blogger. Gadget junkie. Life lover. I love eyeliner. Miller runs through my veins.

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