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Facebook adds a ‘fake news’ reporting option
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Facebook adds a ‘fake news’ reporting option

Andrew Tarantola, @terrortola

December 11, 2016 
 

DENIS CHARLET/AFP/Getty Images

Facebook has been getting dragged hard since November 8th — and rightfully so — given the unprecedented amount of shitposts and fake news that dominated the social site in the months leading up to the election. After his initial defense of “nuh-uh, wasn’t us” fell on deaf ears, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has decided to do something about it. The company has begun hitting fake news sites in the wallet, as well as scrubbing BS content through both curation and automation. And, on Sunday, Facebook appears to have quietly rolled out a third method: a new user-reporting feature that specifically calls out fake news for what it is.

Update: Turns out that the false news option has been active on the site since last year.

Now, when a user reports a post in their timeline (after selecting “I think it shouldn’t be on Facebook” option), they are able to select “It’s a false news story” from the subsequent screen. Notice that it is specifically differentiated from the “It goes against my views” option — namely because facts and your opinions are not interchangeable, regardless of how strongly you believe in either.

This move is actually well within the standard Facebook MO. The company has taken a similar stand with regards to the sale of illicit items, like guns, on its website wherein users are expected to self-police the virtual groups they subscribe to. Hopefully though, this reporting tool will be effective because it’s still terrifyingly easy to buy assault weapons from strangers on the social network.

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