This last national presidential election brought in not only a new president but also some new terms such as 'alternative facts' and 'fake news' and social media giant Facebook has been under tremendous pressure to do something about this situation after Facebook was “considered a breeding ground for the spreading of misinformation.” Facebook, while feeling the pressure to eliminate fake news articles, is still only willing to mark them as “disputed” rather than untrue due to their overly careful approach not to be labeled as censoring the news on their site. Facebook has no means in their system to tackle this issue in real time, so they are using the “disputed” tag on articles that independent groups, such as Snopes.com and the Associated Press, have already verified as being false or has disputed their accuracy. This tagging system has not popped up yet for everybody for some reason “Disputed by multiple, independent fact-checkers. The popups say, “Before you share this content, you might want to know that the fact-checking sites, Snopes.com and Associated Press disputed its accuracy.”
According to the Deception Detection for News from the University of Western Ontario, there are five types of fake news – Intentionally deceptive where the story is an out-and-out lie. A situation where jokes are taken at face value on humor sites such as the Onion or Daily Mash that satirize the media and people take it at face value. A large-scale hoax where deceptions are reported in good faith by a reputable news source, but later found to be untrue. Slanted reporting of real facts where truthful elements are pieced together to serve a particular agenda. Lastly, stories where the “truth” is contentious, and there is no established baseline for truth, so the author writes the information to push their bias opinion.
Along with the articles being flagged as disputed with a link to why they are considered questionable, Facebook will continue to use reports from their community of readers. Facebook does allow a user to flag an article by using the drop down arrow to hide the post, report a post or to hide all articles from a particular publisher. When you tell Facebook you want to report a post; it will ask you if it is annoying or not interesting, if you think it shouldn’t be on Facebook, if it’s a fake news story, or if it is spam. This reporting gives Facebook a good idea on what to do with the article.