Facebook is doubling down on its efforts to prevent the spread of misinformation on its platform.
The giant of social networks, in a expansive (about 2,000 words) blog post, released a series of new policies that the company will implement to suppress false news, images and videos.
The plan, entitled ‘eliminate, reduce and report’, addresses what has been one of the main criticisms of Facebook, in relation to the continued presence of harassment, hate speech and false content on its platform.
Click on the Gap sign
Most prominent among the initiatives is the use of what the company calls a “click-gap” signal, which will essentially reduce links to so-called news articles that receive large amounts of traffic from Facebook, but are not. Linked to other parts of the web.
Facebook says it hopes the new signal will lessen the prevalence of “low-quality content,” such as misinformation and clickbait.
Tessa Lyons, head of news source integrity at Facebook, said the company’s research has shown that where web traffic is coming from is a sign of how authoritative a site is. Search engines use similar signs to determine the quality of websites. As part of the campaign, Facebook summoned about two dozen journalists to its headquarters to explain the changes.
“Click-Gap looks for domains with a disproportionate number of Facebook outbound clicks compared to their place on the web graph,” the blog post said.
Verification of stories
On a related note, Facebook is also making some minor changes to the fact-check stories. The Associated Press Now fact-checking videos will be launched for the social media giant and Facebook will start to include “Trust Indicators” when users click to see the credibility of a post. The indicators will be generated by ‘The Trust Project’, a group created by news organizations that determine whether a publication is trustworthy or now.
The other big notable change is to groups. Groups on Facebook that “repeatedly share wrong information” will now be visible to fewer people in the news feed. The reason this change is important is that it was the frequently visible group pages that were used to distribute propaganda and disinformation in the run-up to the 2016 presidential election in the United States.
Certain tools that were introduced to WhatsApp designed to reduce misinformation are also making their way to Messenger. Apparently, Facebook has already started rolling out the Indicators ‘forward’, so that people know when a message has been sent to them.
Clear history function delayed, once again
The company also announced that it will deploy a “Clear history” feature, which will allow users to delete their accounts from both the content published on the service and the advertising preferences that the company has accumulated in that user during the useful life of the account.
This particular feature was first announced in May 2018, but its release has been delayed. Facebook’s VP of Site Integrity Guy Rosen reasoned that the feature’s launch has taken longer than expected because the company has been redesigning how data is processed. Clear History is expected to launch later this fall.
Algorithms will play a very important role.
The social media giant, however, said that even with this push to curb misinformation, responsibility would remain with the algorithms. Facebook acknowledged that it will never be able to hire enough data reviewers and moderators to monitor all content posted on its site and that ultimately it will be the responsibility of users to discover content that is false and disable it. .
In the meantime, the firm will continue to consult with academics, journalists and other parties to develop new ways to tackle disinformation.
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