Facebook is taking more action against people who repeatedly share misinformation, this time by adding new informational alerts, and increased individual user penalties, based on the distribution of content that has been flagged as false by fact-checking teams.
Facebook announced it is launching a new pop-up to alert visitors to Facebook Pages that have been repeatedly found to be sharing false information, as rated by Facebook fact-checkers.
“We want to give people more information before they like a Page that has repeatedly shared content that fact-checkers have rated, so you’ll see a pop up if you go to like one of these Pages. You can also click to learn more, including that fact-checkers said some posts shared by this Page include false information and a link to more information about our fact-checking program. This will help people make an informed decision about whether they want to follow the Page,” the company said.
In addition to this, Facebook is upping the penalties for people found to be distributing misinformation.
“Starting today, we will reduce the distribution of all posts in News Feed from an individual’s Facebook account if they repeatedly share content that has been rated by one of our fact-checking partners. We already reduce a single post’s reach in News Feed if it has been debunked.”
Facebook’s move is the latest example of social media companies trying to slow the wide spread of misinformation and harmful content on their platforms. Earlier this year the company had started tests, prompting users to read a news story before they share it.
It’s no surprise that social media platforms are trying to maximize informed engagement and ensure that the information people see is correct, since they have become a critical news source over the last years. Facebook works with a range of fact-checkers for this very reason, to ensure that false information is being flagged, and removed where possible.
The company also announced that all Facebook and Instagram users will have the option to hide their public “like” counts. The decision came after months of tests with hidden likes.
“We tested hiding like counts to see if it might depressurize people’s experience on Instagram. What we heard from people and experts was that not seeing like counts was beneficial for some and annoying to others, particularly because people use like counts to get a sense of what’s trending or popular, so we’re giving you the choice.”