How Effective Is Flagging False Reports On Facebook?

During the year 2016, Facebook faced some serious allegations about spreading fake news which coined the term, “if you have read it on Facebook, it might not be true”. Facebook later launched a feature with the aim to restrict the distribution of misinformation. The idea was that for every news article or post that was doubtful, users will see a small notification stating that the information might not be true. However, people still kept sharing such data and this raised some serious questions on the effectiveness of these notifications.

To further unwind the effectiveness of these flagged news reports, a study was conducted by the University of California to see what happens when the user sees a news report or an article with such flags. 500 participants were taken as a sample for this study, all these participants had different views on politics and other daily life activities. Report of the study explains that when the news was flagged, it actually reduces its reach.

To make this possible Facebook has partnered with various third party organizations that helps the company to clarify the viral or most frequently shared reports or news articles. However, the process is still being refined to improve the users' experience. Chances are that once the process has been refined even more, this will become easier to limit the reach of fake news.

The report clearly explains that people stop sharing the stories once they figure out that it has been declared fake, however, there are still few individuals who are sharing these articles. The question is who are these people are why are they still sharing fake news. The answer is scale; these flags are being used very frequently which leave at little too much for the imagination. Even hiring third party companies are not helping Facebook because people start to question if the news was flagged to limit its reach or because it was actually not true. Although, Facebook has tried to take a good step the reputation of the company seems to follow wherever they go and this is the reason flagging fake news and other articles have backfired. However, the report clearly explains that these measures have been fruitful, there is a likely chance that over the year things might get better.

Photo: Getty Images

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