Facebook have been tackling the problem of fake news, hoaxes and disinformation since the 2016 US presidential election.
As part of the crack down on fake news earlier in the year, Facebook started publishing adverts in UK press in order to raise awareness of fake news and give advice on how to spot an unreliable story. In the latest efforts to prevent this so called fake news, the US social media company have now introduced the ‘context’ button, a new feature that will provide instant information about the source of a news article.
The new button is being tested so that people can simply tap on a story and access additional information without needing to go elsewhere. This additional information is pulled across from Facebook, showing relevant information to any linked article shared in your news feed, as well as other sources including information about the publisher e.g. from a Wikipedia page.
The idea behind this extra information is to help people evaluate whether the articles they are reading are from a trustworthy source. If their is no additional information available, then Facebook will let users know, this in itself can be helpful context.
Although there is no guarantee that this will completely stop the spreading of fake news, it will enable users to tell the difference themselves between an article from a trustworthy publisher, and one that’s a bit more suspect than usual.