Facebook announced that it will roll out new tools to combat fake news and hoaxes. The giant social media platform has been heavily criticized for having allowed a lot of fake news and hoaxes on its platform in the run up to the recent US elections.
Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook founder also announced it on his own page on Facebook.
"We believe in giving people a voice and that we cannot become arbiters of truth ourselves, so we're approaching this problem carefully," the company said in its announcement.
One would check if people were "significantly less likely" to share a post after reading the article. Facebook said it would try to find out if people who read a story but then did not share it with their friends, were in some way misled.
Facebook also said that they will make it easier for users to flag fake articles and fake news on their News Feed, and will also work with organizations such as ABC News, Associated Press and fact-checking website Snopes, in an effort to check the validity of stories.
There are at present 43 signatories, including news organizations in different countries.
Facebook discovered that a lot of these fake news are financially motivated. Spammers make money by masking as a well-known news organization, and posting hoaxes that get people to visit their sites, which are mostly ads. Facebook is doing several things to reduce these financial incentives. On the buying side, they have eliminated the ability to spoof domains, which will reduce the prevalence of sites that pretend to be real publications. On the publisher side, Facebook is analyzing publisher sites to find out where policy enforcement actions might be needed.
Facebook has already rolled out some of these tools but said that they are going to improve it as they go along.
"Facebook also said it was looking into penalising websites which tried to mimic major publishers, or misled readers into thinking they were a well-known news source," according to BBC News.