Facebook announced today it’s launching an update to its news feed algorithm designed to reduce the appearance of hoaxes. This includes scams, as well as deliberately false or misleading news.
Facebook is using the feedback received from users to identify these types of posts and filter them out of the news feed. Stories that include scams, or deliberately misleading news, are reported two and a half times more often than links to other news stories.
We’re always looking to people on Facebook to tell us how we can improve this experience. We’ve heard from people that they want to see fewer stories that are hoaxes, or misleading news. Today’s update to News Feed reduces the distribution of posts that people have reported as hoaxes and adds an annotation to posts that have received many of these types of reports to warn others on Facebook.
The problem with these types of posts, the company points out, is that people often share them before realizing they are hoaxes, only to be informed later after their friends click on it.
If you see a story in the news feed that you believe to be a hoax there’s now an option to report it as a false news story, which works in the same way as reporting a story as spam.
Going forward, posts that contain a link to an article that many people have either reported as a false news story, or chosen to delete, will get reduced distribution in news feed. This applies to posts including links, photos, videos and status updates.
Posts that receive lots of reports will be not be removed, and Facebook will not verify the accuracy of the information. What the company will do is annotate the post with a message warning people that many others on Facebook have reported it.
Facebook adds that you shouldn’t worry about posting false news stories when its intended to be humorous, such as satirical articles. That type of content will not be impacted by this update