Facebook may start flagging fake news posts, says Mark Zuckerberg

On Facebook nobody knows if you’re a liar. But they might someday soon.

Facebook is considering flagging to its users when a piece of content posted to Facebook has been reported as false by Facebook users or entities outside of Facebook, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in a Facebook post published Friday night.

To flag these fake posts, Facebook may label them as false when they appear in people’s feeds and/or alert people that a post has been flagged as false when they click to check out or share the post, according to Zuckerberg.

The hypothetical-for-now false-flagging system’s disclosure follows intensifying criticism of Facebook’s role in fueling falsehoods during this year’s presidential election. While Zuckerberg has tried to downplay Facebook’s role in influencing the election and the volume of fake news stories on Facebook, the fact is that the social network can serve as the ultimate rumor mill. According to a BuzzFeed analysis published last week, the most popular fake news stories often outperformed the most popular legitimate news stories, in terms of receiving shares, comments and likes on Facebook.

In addition to making people aware when they’re viewing a fake story, Facebook is working to improve its own ability to identify fake stories in order to reduce its distribution of those stories in people’s news feeds and in the “related articles” selections it displays beneath links.

Facebook is also exploring how to make it easier for people to report a Facebook post as false to Facebook. Right now, to report a post on Facebook as false, you need to 1) click the arrow in the post’s top-right corner, 2) click “Report post,” 3) click “I think it shouldn’t be on Facebook” and 4) click “It’s a false news story.”

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