Don’t you just hate it when you see something obviously fake appearing in your social media stream, shared by someone who should have known better? We certainly do but that’s just our inner pedant speaking. Still, having folks arguing over the veracity of the latest made-up internet survey or pretty much anything reported by Fox News is a good way to waste time and ruin friendships.
How the feature will work is outlined in a Facebook news update but the upshot is that posts will have a reporting feature that will allow users to flag posts with false information. The reporting method is much the same as flagging a post as spam, though users will be able to give reasons why the post in question is er… questionable.
Trimming down these rogue updates will be based on how many users either report or delete them. According to the company “This means a post with a link to an article that many people have reported as a hoax or chosen to delete will get reduced distribution in News Feed. This update will apply to posts including links, photos, videos and status updates.”
There is still the potential for abuse with this reporting method though. A concerted effort by a large group of people online could possibly wipe out actual news or factual information by gaming the reporting system but we’ve not been told what the reporting threshold actually is so Facebook may have made allowances for this sort of behaviour.
All we need now if for news of Facebook’s new hoax-reporting feature to be a hoax itself and we’re into some serious Inception stuff. But that’s not the case here, so keep your eyes on your Timelines. You might be able to help prevent internet ignorance. Or propagate it but let’s not be mean, shall we?