Facebook now flags fake news - CBS46 News

Facebook now flags fake news

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Credit: (CNN) Credit: (CNN)

(MEREDITH) -- Facebook has begun attaching red warning labels to some articles in an attempt to crack down on fake news. This is something they've talked about doing since December, but are just now implementing.

Here's how it works. Articles can be flagged by users manually, or by Facebook's algorithms behind the scenes. Once an article receives a certain number of flags, it's sent off to an independent fact checker like Snopes or Politifact. If two fact checkers also flag the article, then Facebook applies a red warning label to the article that reads "disputed". Notice that Facebook isn't removing the article completely, or even calling it false. It will just be marked as disputed.

Facebook curates a news feed for over 1 billion people every day, yet they're still reluctant to call themselves a media company. It has a difficult role to play. Some criticize the company for spreading false information, and others accuse Facebook of stifling free speech. It wants to take responsibility for the content on its site while avoiding cries of censorship. This shows in their attempts to keep their own editorial hand out of the mix, instead relying on its users to flag the content, and third-party fact checkers to make the final call.

Some skeptics are questioning how effective this system will be. For one thing, it's a little slow. Gizmodo reported that one satirical news article took 5 days to be flagged, and it was clearly labeled as fiction. 5 days is plenty of time for an article to go viral, so Facebook's new program could be too little too late. 

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