As a means to combat the spread of ‘fake news’ Facebook has announced the introduction of a new “educational tool” designed to better inform Facebook users of fake news and how to avoid it. As part of the announcement on the new tool, Facebook notes that it has partnered with the non-profit organization, First Draft, to roll out the new feature.
The actual tool will show up for users in the form of an ad at the top of the page. Once clicked the user will essentially be directed through to the company’s Help Center and in particular, through to pages which will offer information informing users of fake news and how it can be better spotted and avoided in the future. According to Facebook though, this is only a limited time feature as it will only be present on Facebook pages for “a few days.” As the announcement was made yesterday, today would be day 2 of that limited period. In addition, Facebook has also confirmed that the tool will only be available to Facebook users in 14 countries.
Facebook took the announcement opportunity to further highlight that this education tool is part of a much wider and dedicated attempt by the company to combat fake news on the site. In explaining this wider approach, Facebook notes that it is highly focused on three areas in particular. The first of these is “disrupting economic incentives” which seems to be focused on stemming the ability of the origins of fake news to generate revenue through Facebook. The second area is “building new products” which Facebook notes is designed to stem the flow of fake news through Facebook at a core level. While the third noted area is “helping people make more informed decisions” which is what this latest educational tool seems to be a prime example of. It is worth noting that this is not the first feature the company has introduced to tackle fake news, and instead is just the most recent one. Another recent feature introduced by Facebook included the labeling of questionable news stories as ‘disputed’ content, prior to the user sharing the story.