Facebook Unveils New Tools and Programs To Fight ‘Fake News’

As news organizations, tech companies, voters and politicians continue to raise questions about the potential impacts of "fake news" on the 2016 U.S. presidential election, Facebook has come under intense scrutiny for its role in disseminating misinformation. In response, the company yesterday unveiled four steps it plans to take to clamp down on unreliable news articles.

Noting that these efforts are tests that will be reviewed and adjusted over time, Adam Mosseri, Facebook's vice president of News Feed, said his company will "keep working on this problem for as long as it takes to get it right."

Among the changes Facebook is rolling out: easier tools for reporting hoaxes and fake news content; a new program launched with third-party fact-checking partners; algorithmic tweaks to identify misleading information; and new efforts targeting financial incentives that can encourage misinformation.

'A Greater Responsibility'

It remains to be seen whether these latest efforts help lower the heat that Facebook has been feeling regarding its massive impact on users' access to news and other information. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has repeatedly resisted suggestions that his company is a media organization, despite the Pew Research Center's findings last year that 63 percent of users of both Facebook and Twitter said they get news from those sites.

"Facebook is a new kind of platform different from anything before it," Zuckerberg noted yesterday in an update on his Facebook page. "I think of Facebook as a technology company, but I recognize we have a greater responsibility than just building technology that information flows through."

A more recent Pew survey, published yesterday, found that 64 percent of U.S. adults said that made-up information in the news is causing "a great deal of confusion."

"We believe in giving people a voice and that we cannot become arbiters of truth ourselves, so...

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