Facebook To Fight Fake News With Context About Publishers

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Facebook on Thursday announced the latest step in its efforts to combat fake news, detailing a system that's meant to provide its users with additional context about publishers and help them critically evaluate any potentially misleading or outright inaccurate content. The company is planning to do so with a traditional information button attached to stories in its News Feed, acting as a shortcut to related articles and general information about the media outlet that authored the story in question. The new section will be composed of information pulled from various online sources like Wikipedia and Facebook itself, the Menlo Park, California-based social media giant said. Apart from some basic publisher information, the same tab will also provide users with a shortcut to follow the page in question if they deem it trustworthy, in addition to informing them about the manners in which the article they're inquiring about is being shared on Facebook.

If the service isn't able to determine how some article is being circulated on the social media platform, it will also disclose that information to other users with the goal of providing them with additional context of the story, the firm said, without clarifying on on the matter. The new info button started rolling out to users on Thursday but isn't meant to be available globally just yet. Instead, Facebook is presently seeking to test the functionality with a relatively small number of users and start tweaking it as it expands its presence over the coming months. No concrete details on the availability of the newly announced functionality have been provided by the company and it's currently unclear which countries are enrolled in the current testing program, though the U.S. is on the list of likely candidates.

Facebook's latest step in its efforts to combat disinformation is in line with the company's previous moves in this segment; it isn't meant to outright censor content and is instead trying to educate its users and encourage them to think critically. The social media platform has been actively seeking to combat misleading information for close to a year now, ever since it was accused of not doing enough to stop the dissemination of such content in the run-up to the 2016 presidential election in the U.S.

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