Social media giant, Facebook has announced that it is testing a new prompt to encourage users to read an article before sharing it on their Timelines. This is an attempt by the company to restrict the dissemination of fake news on the platform.
Besides other issues, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg appeared before U.S Congress to discuss the company’s policies to contain false information and “opaque algorithms that prioritize user engagement and promote misinformation.”
Since the outbreak of COVID-19, fake news has become a pressing issue for social media platforms. Lots of conspiracy theories emerged on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, about the origin, transmission, and treatment of coronavirus which put people and their lives in danger. For example, hate crimes against Asians increased, 5G towers were burnt, people swallowed Tide bombs, and other unfortunate incidents. Now the conspirators are spreading misinformation on COVID-19 vaccination and dissuading people from getting vaccinated.
Therefore, Twitter introduced a new ‘read-before-share’ prompt and now, Facebook has copied it to deter the spread of fake news.
Facebook is testing a new read-before-share prompt to restrict the spread of fake news on the platform
As per the announcement post on the @fbnewsroom on Twitter, the app automatically detect when users have not opened an article before sharing it and will display a prompt to encourage them to read before sharing to know if the information is worth misleading or not.
“You’re about to share this article without opening it. Sharing articles without reading them may mean missing key facts.”
However, the prompt gives them an option to share without reading, so that makes one question the effectiveness of the prompt which some people pointed out in the comments section of the announcement post.
Why don’t you ban sharing unless the link is opened?
— Adam Dunlop (@AdamGashead) May 11, 2021
Last month, the social media giant announced that it is testing new labels feature for pages to distinguish between parody and genuine pages of celebrities, politicians, or public figures. Under the accounts titles/names, the app will show Public Official Fan Page or Satire Page labels for posts in News Feed, so that users can clearly identify the real pages from the fan and parody pages.
Recent efforts by Facebook show that the company is reforming its platform to make it safe rather than just focusing on engagement because fake news brings a lot of engagement, unfortunately.