‘Disputed by multiple fact-checkers’: Facebook rolls out new alert to combat fake news

Feature which pennant content as disputed trialled on tale that falsely claimed millions of Irish people were brought to the US as slaves

Facebook has started rolling out its third-party fact-checking tool in the fight against fake news, notifying customers to disputed content.

The site announced in December it would be partnering with independent fact-checkers to crack down on the spread of misinformation on its platform.

The tool was first observed by Facebook customers attempting to link to a tale that falsely claimed hundreds of thousands of Irish people were brought to the US as slaves.

Titled The Irish slave trade the slaves that time forgot, the tale published by the Rhode Island entertainment blog Newport Buzz was widely shared on the platform in the lead-up to St Patricks Day on 17 March.

For some customers, attempting to share the tale motivates a cherry-red notify stating the clause has been disputed by both Snopes.com and the Associated Press. Clicking on that warning makes a second pop-up with more information About disputed content.

Sometimes people share fake news without to hear about it. When independent fact-checkers dispute this content, you may be able to visit their websites to find out why, it speaks. Only fact-checkers signed up to Poynters non-partisan code of principles are shown.

The Poynter code promotes excellence in non-partisan and transparent fact-checking for journalism. The pop-up also links to Snopes.com, AP and Facebooks official help page.

Choosing to ignored the caution and click publish motivates another pop-up, reiterating that its accuracy was disputed. Clicking post anyway writes the link, but it appears in others timelines as Quarrelled by Snopes.com and Associated Press.

Attempts by the Guardian in San Francisco to write the Newport Buzz story triggered the tool, but not in Sydney or London. It was also possible to flag it to Facebook as a fake news story through the usual reporting process.

It is not uncommon for Facebook to experiment brand-new aspects on a small number of users before applying them across the board. Facebook declined to comment on the roll-out of the tool, but its help centre page on how news is recognized as disputed on Facebook confirmed this feature isnt available to everyone yet.

On 16 March, Associated Press published a Fact Check on the so-called Irish slave trade that rejected the false clauses, trending on social media. It was billed as part of an ongoing Associated Press great efforts to fact-check pretensions in suspected false news stories.

Liam Hogan, a librarian and historian based in Limerick City, Ireland, who had been tracing the Irish slaves meme since 2015, tweeted that Trump supporters …[ were] “losing ones” thinkers about the alert.

Liam Hogan (@ Limerick1 914)

Trump supporters& others are losing their thinkers that Facebook is now showing this warning when they share a certain “Irish slaves” clause pic.twitter.com/ fzeU8ZOzjb

March 19, 2017

One right-wing blogger shared a screenshot of the alert on Twitter with specific comments Facebooks pre-Thoughtcrime Unit appears to be up and running.

Paul Joseph Watson, editor-at-large of conspiracy belief website Infowars, was critical of Snopes involvement in flagging disputed content, claim: Snopes is a bias[ sic ], far-left outfit. It is not a responsible fact-checker.

Paul Joseph Watson (@ PrisonPlanet)

This is now appearing on Facebook posts. Snopes is a bias, far-left outfit. It is not a responsible “fact-checker”. pic.twitter.com/ IMB0RVJklz

March 18, 2017

Concern about potential impacts of fake news on social media escalated after the US election, inspiring Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg to confirm that the platform took misinformation severely and was working to combat its spread.

In mid-December, Facebook announced it would begin flagging fake news tales with the help of users and five independent fact-checkers: ABC News, AP, FactCheck.org, Politifact and Snopes.

If enough of Facebooks customers reported a tale as sham, the social network would pass it onto these third parties to scrutinise.

In a post on his own Facebook page announcing the changes, Zuckerberg acknowledged the business has a greater responsibility to the public than the average distributor of news.

Were a brand-new various kinds of platform for public discourse and that means we have a brand-new kind of responsibility to enable people to have the most meaningful conversations, and to build a room where people can be informed, he wrote.

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