Facebook is going toÂ start fact checking, labeling, and buryingÂ fake news and hoaxes in the News Feed, the company announced onÂ Thursday.
The decisionÂ comes after Facebook received heated criticism for its role in spreading a deluge of political misinformation during the U.S. presidential election, likeÂ one story that falsely said the Pope had endorsed Donald Trump.
To combat fake news, Facebook has partnered with a shortlist of media organizations, including Snopes and ABC News, that are part of an international fact-checking network lead by Poynter, a nonprofit school for journalismÂ located in St. Petersburg, Florida.
Starting as a test with a small percentage of its usersÂ in the United States, Facebook will make it easier to report news stories that areÂ fake or misleading. Once third-party fact checkers have confirmed that the story is fake, it will be labeled as such and demoted in the News Feed.
A companyÂ spokespersonÂ told Business Insider that the social networkÂ will also use other signals, likeÂ algorithms thatÂ detect whether a story that appears fake is going viral, to determine if it should label the story as fake andÂ bury it in peoples’ feeds.
“We’ve focused our efforts on the worst of the worst, on the clear hoaxes spread by spammers for their own gain, and on engaging both our community and third party organizations,” Facebook News Feed chief Adam Mosseri said in a company blog post on Thursday.
A team of Facebook researchers will also review website domains and send sitesÂ that appear to be fake or spoofed (like “Poynter’s fact-checking code of ethics, Facebook is starting out with the following four:Â Snopes, , ABC News, and PolitiFact.“) to third-party fact checkers, a Facebook spokesperson said. Of the 42 news organizations that have committed to
“We are only involved to the extent that Facebook relies on the list of signatories to our code of principles as a starting point for the organizations it chooses to verify,” a Poynter spokesperson told Business Insider. “Facebook is the only organization certifying third party fact-checkers on its platform.”
Facebook has given itsÂ four initialÂ fact-checking partnersÂ access to a tool that will letÂ them label stories in the News Feed as fake, a Facebook spokesperson said. The spokesperson said that Facebook is not paying the organizations to fact check.
Cracking down on ads for fake news
The websitesÂ that Facebook determines to be fake news organizations or spoofed domains will also not be able to sell ads on the social network. Owners of fake news sites can make thousands of dollars per month through internet ads.
Facebook has repeatedly said that it’s not a media company, but rather an open technology platform that relies on mediaÂ publishers and its users to shareÂ accurate information.
â€œWe do not think of ourselves as editors,” Facebook head of media partnershipsÂ Patrick WalkerÂ said during a recent journalism conference in Dublin. “We believe itâ€™s essential that Facebook stay out of the business of deciding what issues the world should read about. Thatâ€™s what editors do.â€
Politicians like President Obama and Hillary Clinton have recently expressed concern aboutÂ the prevalence of misinformation on social media, with Obama calling it a “dust cloud of nonsense”and Clinton calling it “an epidemic.”
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has meanwhile gone so far as to sayÂ that it’s Â “pretty crazy” for some to suggest that fake news on Facebook could have swayed the election in favor of either candidate.
“With any changes we make, we must fight to give all people a voice and resist the path of becoming arbiters of truth ourselves,” Zuckerberg said in a new post announcing Facebook’s plans to finally fact check news on Thursday. “I believe we can build a more informed community and uphold these principles.”
You can read Zuckerberg’s full post below: