Facebook has announced steps to curtail the spread of fake news. In a press release, Facebook detailed that it will deny ads for “repeat offenders” of fake news stories.
Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg had announced in a post in December 2016 that Facebook would begin to take greater measures against fake news stories and sites that used misleading domains in an attempt to masquerade as well-known organizations. “These steps will help make spreading misinformation less profitable for spammers who make money by getting more people to visit their sites. And we’re also going to crack down on spammers who masquerade as well-known news organizations.” Zuckerberg wrote.
Currently, Facebook will utilize third party fact checkers such as Snopes, Factcheck.org, and Politifact to determine if a page should be flagged. Users will see a notice below the link that notes that it is disputed by one or more of the fact checking sites. It also gives some users the ability to report links for review. Any link that is determined to be fake news is not eligible for ad revenue. Flagging requires at least two of the fact checking organizations to dispute the article. Facebook’s alerts do not prohibit a page from being shared or posted even if the page has been flagged as fake news.
The new steps combat the spread of fake news on Facebook Pages, prohibiting the pages from taking out ads across Facebook. Facebook’s release says that it will be done only for “repeat offenders” and that “If Pages stop sharing false news, they may be eligible to start running ads again.” They plan to target three specific components of the spread of fake news: “Disrupting the economic incentives to create false news, Building new products to curb the spread of false news; and Helping people make more informed decisions when they encounter false news.”