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Facebook roll back controversial initiative to fight fake news

Facebook announces it is rolling back his controversial “Disputed Flags” to measure.

(Reuters)

Facebook announced last week that the reversal of its controversial “Controversial Flags” measure following items are considered fake news, in studies in which it is not stopping the spread of such content, and only encourages users to click on it.

The tech giant said the move was a response to scientific research showing that a strong image as a red flag next to an article “can actually entrench deep-seated convictions” and lead to an opposite effect of encouraging users to click on fake stories, according to the company’s blog post posted on Dec. 20.

Instead, Facebook will now show “Related Articles” next to fake news, provide more context for users of a particular story.

“Our research has shown (Related Articles) is a more effective way to help people to the facts,” the social media giant said, adding that “it leads to fewer shares than if the Disputed Flag is displayed.”

The company is also launching another initiative focused on understanding how people decide whether the information is correct on the basis of the news sources they depend on for the news.

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Facebook said it will not affect what people see on their feeds in the short term, but will help them to measure the success in improving the quality of information on the platform.

Facebook together last year with several media organizations, including Snopes, ABC News and FactCheck.org in an attempt to prevent the spread of so-called “fake news” articles with misinformation – that facilitates 2016 during the Presidential elections.

The fact-checkers were given permission to submit to the content on the platform in an attempt to help users identify fake news and stop the spread of hoaxes. Articles deemed fake verified by fact-checkers get relegated, which significantly reduces the traffic and the dissemination of such content.

“In total, we are making progress,” the company said. “The downgrade of fake news (as identified by the” fact-checkers) is one of our best weapons because degraded items lose 80 percent of their traffic. This destroys the economic incentives of spammers and troll farms have to generate these articles in the first place.

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