As part of its efforts to battle fake news, Facebook – the social media giant – is releasing an educational tool to counter fake news. An ad will show at the top of the News Feeds of users for three days. These ads link to advice on “how to spot fake news” and how to report them. The social networking site said that the campaign that will be promoted in 14 countries is designed to assist people in becoming more discerning readers.
Experts question if the measure would have any impact
In an interview to BBC, Tom Felle, a lecturer in digital journalism at City University, said this issue will just continue to get even worse until the tech giant stops rewarding the architects of fake news with huge traffic.
Users who click on the ad of the social media platform will be redirected to the tech company’s help centre where they will encounter a list of ten tips on how to identify fake news. This new education toll will start from this Friday (April 7th). The countries where this tool will be promoted are Germany, France, Italy, United Kingdom, Philippines, Indonesia, Taiwan, Myanmar (Burma), Brazil, Mexico, Colombia, Argentina, United States, and Canada.
The ten tips given in the article would include looking at the URL of the article, trying to find the source of the story, and understanding whether the story is a new or a joke. Further, the article recommends being “sceptical of headlines” as well because fake news often have catchy headlines like they are often in caps with exclamation points.
We welcome the move but Facebook should do more: Tom Felle
The new guide of the tech company is one of the useful basic principles of good journalism, notes BBC News. The news site adds, “If all the millions who will see it popping up in their feeds read and digest it, maybe it will have an effect.”
The Vice President of News Feed – Adam Mosseri – said “We think these tips will help people become more discerning readers, which is critically important as we’re moving to a world where people need to be more skeptical about what they read to make sure they are not misled or lied to.”
He added that the tool was just part of the big strategy to defeat fake news and there was no “silver bullet.” Mr. Tom Felle, a lecturer in digital journalism at City University, welcomed the move but said that the social networking site should not stop here and should go further with its tool. He said, “These tips to spot fake news are welcome but do nothing to address that fundamental problem – in fact they put the onus on audiences to be suspicious of what they share, expecting viewers to be fact checkers – rather than acting to stop the spread of potential propaganda in the first place.”