Facebook has been in the news for all the wrong reasons lately, and they hope to redeem themselves a little with a new initiative which they are looking to launch on the platform soon enough. The first set of bad news started to roll in for the social media giant when it started to confirm even living people dead, so much that it would encourage their friends and family to go to the pages of these users and drop their condolence messages. While this can be seen as an outrageous bug at best, and also caused a lot of confusion and panic on the website and app for a while, they managed to get rid of it before it could cause much more harm than expected. If it is any consolation, even the CEO and founder of the platform, Mark Zuckerberg, was declared dead. Talk about Frankenstein’s monster coming back to kill him.

As if that wasn’t enough, a new bug crept into the system last month, and this one didn’t pronounce people dead but instead went fishing out the skeletons that they had in their cupboard. Posts that were set years ago were resurfacing as new posts and the tags in them were still active. What a lot of people would have preferred stay buried started to creep up again and many started to panic, attributing everything to a case of a data breach. The community panel of Facebook was flooded with a lot of concerned users at that time, and with the US based company having acknowledged their fault, all we can do is wait. To correct all of that, though, Facebook has decided to introduce a feature that would help to flag fake news on the website and prevent users from getting misleading information.

Obeying the theory of cause and effect, this new change was brought about mainly because of a lot of user complaints on the amount of false news that they got as regards the just concluded elections and to make its loyalists happy, the Blue platform has made a step in the right direction, ensuring that you never have to read a fake story anymore. According to the worksheet of what they have in mind, they would not be able to do this alone but would require help from outside too (in other words, you) to identify a piece if news item and run it through the verification process. This means that you would be able to alert Facebook if you feel that any news item on parade is false and they would, in turn, send these items to checkers on the outside to verify the authenticity of the news.

Officially, Facebook has announced that it is already in bed with no less than five fact checking organizations and they would all make sure that everything run through them is 100% true before giving the go-ahead. If unfortunately, a piece of news item gets deemed as false, Facebook would attach a “disputed by 3rd party fact checkers” tag to the news, and this would accompany it wherever it showed up on the social media network. The fact checkers that have agreed to come on board with Facebook are ABC News, AP, FactCheck, Politifact, and Snopes. For the kind of story that gets flagged this way, Facebook would allow users click on it and get the reason why it was deemed so in the first place. However, users would still be able to share the story but get another notification before they do so, warning about how reliable the piece of information they are sending out to their friends is.

To further buttress this change, another change to the software is going to help Facebook identify news that has been shared by users who just got the headlines and thought to pass it on as against those that were clicked upon, read and then shared. This is because they believe that if they had read the story in the first place, they could have been less likely to share it than they would by just seeing the headlines on it. From the combination of these methods, they could have finally found a way to reduce the rate at which fake websites are being created as it would be harder to disguise as a legitimate platform. To announce the changes, the CEO of Facebook has said that they had a “greater responsibility.” Speaking further on the matter, he expressed that “I believe we must be extremely cautious about becoming arbiters of truth ourselves.”

This is not the first time that the issue of fake news has rocked social media platforms all around the globe. Since this is where most people go to these days to get their information, it makes it extremely hard to keep a set of current and news-conscious citizens if most of what they would get is fake news. With about 44 percent of all adults in the US claiming to get their daily fixes of news from Facebook and having about 1.8 billion users in total, it is more than necessary that they implement this kind of change and if anything, we even think that this is long overdue.

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