Facebook In Constant Battle Against Hoaxes, Scams And Fake News

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Electronic cables are silhouetted next to the logo of Facebook in this September 23, 2014 illustration photo in Sarajevo. Reuters/Dado Ruvic

Facebook will look closely into the many scams, hoaxes and fake news that are posted on the News Feed of its users. The social media giant announced on Jan. 20 that it is adding an option for its users to report and flag false news or stories they encounter on their News Feed. If users find anything wrong with any posts, they can report to Facebook by simply clicking on the choices on the drop-down menu provided.

Some of the hoaxes that plagued the social media's News Feed include: pages that claim it will let users see who has viewed their Facebook profile and a scam that says Facebook will be giving away fancy cars. Even fake photos of natural disasters also went viral and have been shared by thousands of users.

The company cleared it will not remove the posts; instead, it will add annotation to the posts that received several reports from Facebook users. The company adds the fake news will not be deleted from the site. However, the alleged story will be tagged with a warning label and will be downgraded within the users' News Feed.

Techno Buffalo reports such liberty given to millions of Facebook users might actually pose a problem. A user who disagrees with a certain topic, may it be legit or fake, will have the power to flag the news as either annoying or false news and could even flag the post as something that goes against the user's personal views. In addition, the user can also tag the post as pornographic or violent.

In a blogpost, the social networking site explained the purpose of the News Feed is for users to catch up with friends by exchanging news and stories posted on the platform. Unfortunately, the News Feed has been used in spreading hoaxes, scams and news stories that aim to mislead people and deliberately provide false ideas.

Facebook has also observed that its users have the tendency to share hoaxes without even checking the full story. Based on a test the company had conducted, people are two times more likely to delete these types of posts after receiving a comment from a friend telling them it's a hoax and after knowing they have been tricked by it.

The social networking site intends to filter fake stories in an effort to become a more reliable news source for its users. It cleared that it will not go against The Onion and other satire sites. The social media giant reiterates fans of those kind of sites do not have to worry. However, the company said articles or posts should be clearly presented: whether it is meant as a joke or as a legitimate news.

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