Good news for all ye gullible Facebook-ers out there. The social media mega-giant has created an option to flag all news items in your feed that are false, misrepresented, or just plain whacko.
Let’s be honest, we all know someone who could seriously benefit from a little guidance in the “what to share” department. And it’s SO easy for rumors to run rampant when suddenly nine of your friends are all posting that bogus story about how eating ramen noodles is the expressway to longevity. Remember the time when everybody thought Sarah Palin joined Al-Jazeera? Or when we copied and pasted the “new” Facebook privacy agreement? Yea, well, those were complete lies, and thousands of stories and news items like that are shared everyday on the social media site.
Facebook is thankfully self-aware enough to realize its role in the spreading of false information, and has developed a system which allows you to opt out of seeing posts like that.
In an online post appearing Tuesday, Facebook explained that you will be able to flag stories as “a false news story,” much the same way you can flag pornographic and violent content today. Although this has the potential to turn crowd-sourcing into an online police state, where any bit of controversial information could be flagged, Facebook insists it will work. It will also look like this:
Facebook engineer Erich Owens and researcher Udi Weinsberg wrote in the blog, “Stories that include scams, or deliberately misleading news, are reported two and a half times more often than links to other news stories,” and that the new system can help users discern more readily what is share-worthy. Additionally, users are less likely to share a story if their friends have already labeled it as false.
All-in-all, this seems like it could be a good idea, especially for those among us who get a little click happy when it comes to those headlines about what famous people looked like in the womb, or secret recipes for carb-free brownies that were just invented(!). So moral of the story, think before you share! And thanks FB for having our backs.
[Images , via]