If you have ever been on Facebook and seen a tirade from someone upset about something a satire website had to say, you are not alone. Satire websites, such as The Onion, have a large following of satire-lovers. Sadly though, not everyone reading articles posted from these websites on Facebook understand that the article is actually not true. This has lead to Facebook testing out a new “satire” tag for “news” stories that are from satire websites.
The issue of people not being able to distinguish real news sites from satire websites is so big that there is a whole website, Literally Unbelievable, that documents readers who mistake these stories for truth. Readers have had trouble distinguishing stories like a 9,600-mile roller coaster or Middle East bombings exposing Earth’s mantle as unbelievable. Though it seems “literally unbelievable” to many that these stories would be mistaken as truth, Facebook is full of people confused over these “news” articles.
According to HNGN, Facebook started a small test run over a month ago after it received feedback that people wanted “a clearer way to distinguish satirical articles from others in these units.” In the test run, if a user clicks on a satirical news story, Facebook then will tag any related links to that story as “satire.” Bustle notes that the tag is hard-to-miss. Instead of just the normal headline, Facebook will display articles from satire sites with headlines like, for example,“[Satire] FDA Recommends At Least 3 Servings Of Foods With Word ‘Fruit’ On Box.”
The test started with The Onion and has moved on to other satire sites as well. Currently the tag is wishy-washy and will only show on occasion until Facebook gets all the kinks worked out. It appears, according to Bustle, that identifying satire may be a little harder than originally thought.
Some people feel that this is extreme hand holding by Facebook. Part of the fun of posting a satire article is to see how many people in your news feed will actual believe the absurd story. However, Facebook obviously felt that too many people were making fools of themselves and decided to lend a hand.
This isn’t the only change that Facebook has made that has made users unhappy. The requirement of mobile users to download Facebook Messenger caused quite the stir recently.
What do you think of the new Facebook satire tag? Do you think it is a positive change, or would you prefer the gullible people in your news feed to make themselves known?