Facebook has announced that any member sharing false information will be punished and penalized after the fact-checkers identify the content as fake. The organization will also start inducing warnings to notify its members that if they share any false claim then that particular posts would be moved way below in the news feed so that they are not visible to others.
Previously Facebook followed a policy to rank down those individual posts that were debunked by fact-checkers. But this method had a flaw as it required time and could result in a post with false information going viral before it was checked for facts. But now armed with new policies, Facebook is going to punish those users who share misinformation.
Another new measure against these misinformation superspreaders is that their posts will start to display pop-up warnings when anyone tries to follow their post. This measure will be applicable to repeat offenders in addition to their post ranking down and not visible in News Feed. If that seems not enough, then the notification will also link the fact check done and allows users to delete the post from their wall.
This step by Facebook has been appreciated by many experts but they believe that it should have been brought about earlier. It has been more than a year and Facebook has been struggling to control misinformation about the Covid Pandemic, Vaccines, and the Presidential Elections. With these changes made the company stated in their blog post “Whether it’s false or misleading content about COVID-19 and vaccines, climate change, elections or other topics, we’re making sure fewer people see misinformation on our apps”
However, Facebook has not yet specified the number of posts with misleading and falsifying made by a user that would activate the alert on the user’s posts. But it seems that it would be using the “Strike” system it had been previously using in some cases.
There have been certain reports from the Center for Countering Digital Hate that most of the anti-vaccine information spread on Facebook was done by only 12 individuals. Other researchers have also shown similar results where misleading and false information are posted by a small number of the same individuals only.
To summarize, this is a commendable step taken by Facebook with the hope that it can reduce if not stop the spread of misinformation. Also, readers are advised to double-check any information on the internet before sharing the post or telling someone about it.