Pixel Envy

Written by Nick Heer.

Facebook Is Going to Try Tackling Fake News With Fact-Checkers

Mark Bergen, Bloomberg:

Two of the incoming changes are very visible. Facebook users will be able to flag content on the site as a “fake news story.” Articles deemed false by Facebook’s partner, Poynter Institute’s International Fact Checking Network, will have a new tag attached: “Disputed by 3rd Party Fact-Checkers.” Publishers behind these articles will no longer be able to promote these articles as Facebook paid ads. The social network also will be working with fact-checking organizations Politfact, Snopes and FactCheck.org, as well as ABC News and the Associated Press to identify articles as fake.

These are reputable, non-partisan news organizations that, while not perfect 100% of the time, have good track track records for sorting out the fact from the bullshit.

Unfortunately, I doubt Facebook’s initiative will have a significant effect on the spread of fake news — “fake” news, of course, being stories and posts that range from oversimplified rumours and satire, to made-up, fact-free articles, conspiracy theories, and websites that look legitimate but aren’t.

While Fox News is reporting Facebook’s decision through a neutral lens, major right-wing blogs are already decrying this as a liberally-biased move. This is predictable — both Breitbart and the Daily Caller tend to dabble in fake news themselves. Meanwhile, perennial libertarian garbage peddler Natural News posted an “urgent action alert” across their site, and are calling Facebook’s decision “Orwellian”.

I agree with Will Alden:

Prediction: “disputed” will be similar to “deplorables.” People will embrace it and flaunt it.

For those who already believe in these stories, “disputed” is a badge of honour. It says to them that the “mainstream” is, for whatever reason, trying to suppress the article. I hope this isn’t the case, but I fear that this will backfire.