To address concerns over misinformation on its platform, Facebook is introducing a new feature that will alert users if news articles they are about to share are more than 90 days old. The move is aimed at adding more context to stories shared on Facebook, the world’s most popular social media network with over 2 billion users.
“Over the past several months, our internal research found that the timeliness of an article is an important piece of context that helps people decide what to read, trust and share,” Facebook said in a blog post. “News publishers in particular have expressed concerns about older stories being shared on social media as current news, which can misconstrue the state of current events.
With this new feature, a notification will pop up with a warning before people share a news item that is more than 90 days old. The platform will still allow people to share that old article “if they decide an article is still relevant.”
Facebook also said it will be testing other kinds of notification screens to reduce misinformation, including adding a notification for links mentioning COVID-19.
Facebook has been severely criticised for its role in spreading misinformation. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg recently opted out of fact-checking he president’s social media posts, saying that social media networks should not be “arbiters of truth.” Twitter, on the other hand, has placed warnings fact-check warnings on posts by politicians, including US President Donald Trump.
The social media giant recently announced that it will give users in the US the option to “turn off” all political advertising on the platform. The move comes at a time when the US prepares for the 2020 presidential election. Ever since the 2018’s Cambridge Analytica and its alleged role in the 2016 election, Facebook has been under the radar of policymakers in the US.
“The 2020 election is going to be unlike any other. It was already going to be a heated campaign, and that was before the pandemic — and before the killing of George Floyd and so many others forced us yet again to confront the painful reality of systemic racism in America,” Zuckerberg said in an op-ed published in the USA Today last month.
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