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Facebook’s new button to aid users identify fake news

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Facebook's new button to aid users identify fake news

San Francisco, Oct 6: In a move to help identify stories to read, share and trust on their News Feed, Facebook is testing a button that users can tap to access additional information about where the stories came from.

The additional information about a news article will be pulled from across Facebook and other sources to identify and remove false news.

The other sources are information from the news publisher’s Wikipedia entry, a button to follow their Page, trending articles or related articles about the topic and information about how the article is being shared by people on Facebook, the social media platform said in a blog post on Friday.

“In some cases, if that information is unavailable, we will let people know, which can also be helpful context,” the Facebook blog post added.

The move is important in the wake of the Las Vegas shooting where Google, Facebook and Twitter failed miserably to stop publishing fake news on their platforms.

Facebook’s “Security Check” page — that lets people involved with disasters and accidents post messages for friends and loved ones — published a blog post from “Alt-Right News” that said “the killer may have been a Trump-hating American television host Rachel Maddow fan” in an apparent reference to the misidentified killer’s Facebook page.

Facebook said its security staff saw the post and removed it.

“However, its removal was delayed by a few minutes, allowing it to be screen captured and circulated online. We are working to fix the issue that allowed this to happen in the first place and deeply regret the confusion this caused,” Fast Company quoted the social media giant as saying.

“The new button reflects feedback from our community, including many publishers who collaborated on its development as part of our work through the Facebook Journalism Project,” Facebook said in the new blog post.

Helping people access this important contextual information can help them evaluate if articles are from a publisher they trust, and if the story itself is credible, it added.(IANS)

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Facebook News: Boon for Some, Ban for Many

Wait and watch as more details emerge about Facebook News

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The Facebook mobile app on an Android smartphone. Wikimedia Commons

With Facebook announcing to bring top media houses onboard as it faces extreme scrutiny amid ongoing regulatory hearings over privacy violations, one thing is clear: struggling small and medium media outlets now face a strong rival, starting with the US.

The significant media handshake from Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has come after years of shaky relationship between the two.

Facebook never called itself a media organisation, despite experimenting with splashing news on its platform.

In 2015, the social networking platform launched Instant Articles, hosting news content inside its app.

“But heavy-handed rules restricting advertising, subscription signup boxes and recirculation modules led publishers to get little out of Instant Articles. By late 2017, many publishers had largely abandoned the feature,” reports TechCrunch.

The company also discontinued its Trending News section in June last year.

This time, Zuckerberg has played his cards well, by bringing 200 news outlets including the “alt-right” Breitbart News, despite its history of white nationalism and propagating racist conspiracies, under its umbrella.

What’s more, Facebook will reportedly pay as much as $3 million to licence headlines and previews of article from “major news outlets”.

This spells bad news for already bleeding small and medium publishers, not only in the US but in other countries including in India.

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An iPhone displays the app for Facebook in New Orleans, Aug. 11, 2019. VOA

Zuckerberg predicts 20 million to 30 million people could use the News tab in a few years.

The News tab will initially be available to about 200,000 people in some of the largest cities in the US. The company has Facebook hired a team of journalists to help curate major national stories.

Facebook and news organizations have had a strained relationship in the past “because both compete for ad dollars”.

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Facebook and Google are pocketing more than 70 per cent of the digital ad spend globally, leaving scores of news organisations to vie for the rest.

Accoding to several media reports, Facebook News will have an uneven impact on news publishers a” with the largest ones benefiting the most.

Industry analyst Ken Doctor was quoted as saying in the Sydney Morning Herald that Facebook was risking backlash by choosing to pay some publishers but not others.

Will this media handshake also help Facebook control the scathing criticism coming from some of the top media outlets too, as regulators and governments go after the social media platform, including the break-up Facebook call?

Wait and watch as more details emerge about Facebook News. (IANS)