On Friday, the sun set on the glory days of “fake news.”
No longer can know-nothings on either side of the aisle post hoax stories without consequences — at least on Facebook.
The social media site, as reported by Gizmodo, has rolled out its “Disputed Stories” feature which basically doles out cyberspace scarlet letters. If an article shared by a user is identified as fake, it will be flagged by a red square with a white triangle and red exclamation point next to the text, “Disputed by [fact-checking organizations].”
That’s right, the newest Facebook hired hands are third-party, nonpartisan fact-checkers from organizations like PolitiFact and Snopes.com. This is fantastic news for political discourse in America, but terrible news for these employees who will be sifting through (one can only imagine) tens of thousands of reports from people with cartoon profile pictures and a limited grasp on any definable language.
But before it gets to these experts, there’s a process in place.
Here’s how it works:
- You see a story on Facebook that seems to have no factual basis.
- Click on the “V” in the upper right-hand corner.
- Click “Report post” then “It’s a fake news story” then “Mark this post as fake news.”
- Your query will be sent to the third-party fact-checkers, who are required to sign and follow a code of principles set by the Poynter Institute’s International Fact-Checking Network.
- If they decide the story is fake, it will be flagged.
- Facebook users will be able to click on this flag to read the fact-checkers’ explanation as to why it is fallacious.
- Score one for reality!
While Facebook has been cited as contributing to this whole fake news mess, this is a commendable first step in the long road that leads back to the good ol’ days of just “news.”
But until all widespread social media sites — like, say, Twitter — employ similar fact-checking measures, the end of that road is nowhere in sight.