Facebook's effort to Fact-check content is working, but it has consequences

After facing many controversies, Facebook has integrated ‘fact-checking labels’ on disputed stories as an attempt to reduce the spread of misinformation. The labels allow Facebook users to take a moment – and recheck the content of news before sharing it with the others.

Studies have proven that the labels are working – Kudos to Facebook. However, MIT conducted an analysis recently which claims that there is a flaw in Facebook’s fact-checking system. According to the report, fact-checking labels are displayed only on disputed stories and thus, these stories see fewer shares.

But the problem is that when the story on Facebook is unlabeled, the users have an automatic assumption that the content is correct and shareable.

6,000 individuals took part in the MIT study. These participants were shown various Facebook posts that were both – labeled and non-labeled. Additionally, some un-tagged stories contained false information while some were marked as inaccurate.

The study found that fact-checking labels did work and participants shared only 16.1% of the stories that were marked as false.

Yes, this does show the accuracy of the fact-checking labels but there is a twist!

When the participants saw fake stories that were unmarked, they considered them as authentic and shared 36.2% of them.

This simply means that Facebook’s label does work by a good margin but the World Wide Web contains a plethora of information that includes both – false and true news content. And to control the problem, we may need a more advanced solution than a simple label.


Photo: NurPhoto via Getty Images

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