Facebook Vs. Fake News: The Battle Begins

Pages on Facebook will no longer be able to make money if they continue to spread fake news. This means the admins managing Facebook Pages will have to think twice before posting a link because disciplinary action will be taken against those who disseminate false information. These measures, however, are applicable only to Facebook Pages and not personal accounts.

What are Facebook Pages?

Facebook Pages enable public figures, businesses, organizations and other entities to create an authentic and public presence on Facebook. Unlike a user’s personal profile page, Facebook Pages are visible to everyone on the internet by default. A user can access the Page by hitting the “Like” button and becoming a fan. Doing so enables the user to receive updates on their personal news feed.

What happens when a Facebook Page shares fake news?

Page owners will stop making money. If Pages continue to share stories marked as false, these repeat offenders will no longer be allowed to advertise on Facebook.

In a blog post this week, Facebook product managers Satwik Shukla and Tessa Lyons laid out the company’s strategies to put an end to fake news.

“We’ve found instances of Pages using Facebook ads to build their audiences in order to distribute false news more broadly. Now, if a Page repeatedly shares stories that have been marked as false by third-party fact-checkers, they will no longer be able to buy ads on Facebook. If Pages stop sharing false news, they may be eligible to start running ads again,” the duo said.

Facebook is working on three key areas to fight the spread of false news. The company aims to disrupt the economic incentives to create a false narrative. The social media giant will build new products to curb the spread of false news and, thereby, help people make more informed decisions when they encounter fake news.

According to Facebook, those who are involved in the dissemination of fake news are financially motivated. By masquerading as legitimate news publishers, these spammers make money by posting hoaxes that get people to visit their sites, which, more often than not, are filled with ads.

By applying machine learning, Facebook hopes to detect fraud and enforce its policies against inauthentic spam accounts.

The company is also looking to improve its news feed by listening to what the community conveys. For instance, if reading an article makes people significantly less likely to share it, Facebook would take it as a sign that the story has misled people in some way. It remains to be seen if Facebook’s new strategy will put an end to fake news.

[Featured Image by Paul Sakuma/AP Images]