Comedy comes in many forms, but some forms that rely on a level of subtlety are often the most effective sorts of humour. Satire happens to fall into that category, but a fair few folk have a hard time recognising it when they see it… particularly when it resembles news. That’s why Facebook has started to add “Satire Page” labels to… you guessed it… satire pages.
Explaining the joke
Starting today in the US, we’re testing a way to give people more context about the Pages they see. We’ll gradually start applying labels including 'public official,' 'fan page' or 'satire page' to posts in News Feed, so people can better understand who they’re coming from. pic.twitter.com/Bloc3b2ycb
— Meta Newsroom (@MetaNewsroom) April 7, 2021
The social media platform will now label fan pages and public official pages as such, presumably to separate what’s real from what’s not in the realm of news. Which you’d think wouldn’t be an issue, but you’d be surprised how many satire articles are flung around Facebook groups because someone couldn’t tell they were looking at a joke page (if they even bothered to read past the catchy headline).
These labels pop up under page names in a suitably dull grey and offer further context if clicked. Right now they’re only out in the US (and in a “testing” phase at that), so don’t expect to stop receiving misquoted and misinterpreted ‘news’ articles in your community groups just yet.
Facebook (like many other social media platforms) has long been a space used to spread misinformation, inadvertently or not, but the issue fell into focus last year in particular. In the buildup and wake of the US presidential election, if you ventured online you were bound to stumble across some accusation of fraud, sometimes backed by sketchy and often clearly satirical articles as ‘evidence’.
Facebook has said before that it’s recommitting to combating the spread of misinformation. This appears to be another step in pursuit of that goal.