How do you know you’re completely untrustworthy? When you call something fake news, and people automatically presume you’re lying for the mainstream media, and read what you said was bogus.
Well, that’s how untrustworthy Mark Zuckerberg is. When he hired fake fact checkers Snopes and others to “fact check” news, what little bit of credibility for truth in media Facebook may have once had, instantly evaporated.
It’s a well known fact that Snopes is a left-wing propaganda outlet, and publish just enough truth in “fact checking” to fool the rubes of the world.
After debunking his own credibility by hiring them, Zuckerberg has decided his fact-checkers aren’t so useful after all.
Facebook is getting rid of its fake news red flags because they were making fabricated media reports appear more believable to its users.
The social network began showing “disputed” warnings next to articles in December to alert people that third party fact-checking websites deemed them misleading.
It will now show a selection of “related articles” next to offending stories instead. These will give more context and could help people learn the facts surrounding a situation through reputable media publications, reports the Telegraph.
The U-turn was prompted by research suggesting users would actually believe fake news even if it was flagged as incorrect or a misleading.
“Academic research on correcting misinformation has shown that putting a strong image, like a red flag, next to an article may actually entrench deeply held beliefs – the opposite effect to what we intended,” Facebook product manager Tessa Lyons wrote in a blog-post.
It conducted research which suggested that false news stories with “related articles” next to it were shared fewer times than those highlighted with a red flag.
“False news undermines the unique value that Facebook offers: the ability for you to connect with family and friends in meaningful ways. It’s why we’re investing in better technology and more people to help prevent the spread of misinformation,” Lyons wrote.
“Overall, we’re making progress. Demoting false news (as identified by fact-checkers) is one of our best weapons because demoted articles typically lose 80 percent of their traffic. This destroys the economic incentives spammers and troll farms have to generate these articles in the first place.”
Fears about fake news have grown over the past year, with MPs putting pressure on media sites like Facebook to better regulate its news feed.
Facebook’s tips for spotting fake news
Be sceptical of headlines. The headlines of fake news stories are often catchy, and contain lots of capital letters and exclamation marks. If claims in the headline sound unbelievable, they may well be.
Look closely at the URL. Many false news stories mimic authentic news sources by making small changes to the URL. You can go to the site to compare the URL to established sources.
Check the source. Ensure the story comes from a source with a reputation for accuracy. If the story comes from a site you have not heard of, check their “About” section to learn more.
Watch for unusual formatting. Many false news stories often contain spelling and grammar errors, as well as an awkward looking layout.
Check the photos. False news stories often contain manipulated images or videos. Sometimes the photo may be authentic, but taken out of context. You can do an internet search of the image to find out where it came from.
Check the dates. Fake news stories may contain timelines that make no sense, or event dates which are wrong or have been altered.
Check the evidence. Check the author’s sources to confirm they are accurate. Lack of evidence, or a reliance on unnamed experts may indicate false news.
Look at other reports. If no other news source is reporting the same story, it could indicate that it is false.
Is the story a joke? Sometimes false news stories can be hard to distinguish from humourous articles. Check whether the source is known for parody, and whether the story’s details and tone suggest it may be just for fun.
Some stories are intentionally false. Think critically about the stories that you read, and only share articles which you know to be credible.
(Well, fortunately here at Overpasses For America, we have nothing to worry about. Everything is sourced, and we avoid using proven fake news sources such as CNN, MSNBC, Washington Post, New York Times, etc, etc, etc…)
As well as being a favourite term of Donald Trump, who regularly applies the label to media organisations in the US, it has raised tension between nations.
US intelligence agencies are currently investigating the impact of Russian meddling on the outcome of last year’s election. Facebook said that as many as 126 million Americans saw content from Russia-based agents on the site over the past two years.
The social network was pressed by MPs to reveal similar figures relating to Russian adverts around the time of the European referendum and the general election in June. But Facebook last week claimed just 75p was spent by Russian’s on adverts aimed at UK audiences.
Mr Americana, Overpasses News Desk
December 22nd, 2017
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