Facebook has issued clarifications amidst reports of tools developed by Facebook to identify users who flagged news as fake due to motivated reasons. It acknowledges that it has created a process that will offer protection from users who wrongly flag posts as fake.
Social media networks are combating fake news on their platforms, which manipulate the power of the reach of these platforms to shape public opinion with misinformation and inflammatory content. These efforts have been ongoing for the last eighteen months. The recent efforts of Facebook are intended to weed out deliberate efforts to game the system and flag posts as fake despite the same being verified by fact checkers. Misinformation is multi-dimensional. Fake information can be passed off as original, which was the original dimension in fake news. The newest and latest angle is the effort of motivated users to flag original content as fake and get them labeled as misinformation merely because of a disagreement on the contents. Facebook’s statement clearly highlighted the reason for the new process, “The reason we do this is to make sure that our fight against misinformation is as effective as possible.”
However, the tech company took exception to a report in The Washington Post which wrongly suggested that Facebook had developed an overall ‘reputation score’ of users. the social media company clarified that users who reported fake news were accorded a score of zero to one on the basis of their reliability in reporting bogus posts. The network uses these signals to tag posts for review by a fact-checking team, with priority. Facebook added that the Washington Post report of an overall reputational score was misleading.
As part of its efforts in fighting fake news, Facebook shut down 32 accounts that were identified as part of a large co-ordinated plan to manipulate public opinion on a range of issues that influenced the outcome of the polls in the US. There have been reports from US Intelligence of efforts by Russian players to meddle in the results of the US elections and influence the poll outcome by flooding the network with diverse content.