Facebook is going to start fact-checking, labeling, and burying fake news and hoaxes in its News Feed, the company said Thursday.
The decision comes after Facebook received heated criticism for its role in spreading a deluge of political misinformation during the US presidential election, like one story that falsely said the Pope had endorsed Donald Trump.
To combat fake news, Facebook has teamed up with a shortlist of media organizations, including Snopes and ABC News, that are part of an international fact-checking network led by Poynter, a nonprofit school for journalism in St. Petersburg, Florida.
Starting as a test with a small percentage of its users in the US, Facebook will make it easier to report news stories that are fake or misleading. Once third-party fact-checkers have confirmed that the story is fake, it will be labeled as such and demoted in the News Feed.
A company representative told Business Insider that the social network will also use other signals, like algorithms that detect whether a story that appears fake is going viral, to determine if it should label the story as fake and bury it in people’s feeds.
“We’ve focused our efforts on the worst of the worst, on the clear hoaxes spread by spammers for their own gain, and on engaging both our community and third party organizations,” Facebook News Feed chief Adam Mosseri said in a company blog post on Thursday.
A team of Facebook researchers will also review website domains and send sites that appear to be fake or spoofed (like “washingtonpost.co”) to third-party fact-checkers, a Facebook representative said. Of the 42 news organizations that have committed to Poynter’s fact-checking code of ethics, Facebook is starting out with the following four: Snopes, Factcheck.org, ABC News, and PolitiFact.
The Associated Press will also be a fact-checking partner.