Sick of your mother or backwoods uncle sharing the latest totally true story about how Mr. Roger’s used to be a deadly assassin for the army, all while he was high on weed? A new Facebook feature is coming to the rescue. Soon, rather than being bothered to comment, you will be able to smugly mark the offending post as a hoax or misleading. A new option in a drop-down menu that precious few people know about, or make use of, will give users access to the new feature.
Facebook won’t be removing these posts, or even looking at them. The system will simply be adding an annotation at the top of these fishy updates. This will let everyone know their legitimacy is questionable. Whether your perpetually misinformed relatives will notice the fine-print or not is even more questionable.
This seems like a great idea at first, but abuse of the system is highly probable. I can already imagine it being used by hardcore political activists in attempts to invalidate their opponent’s updates. We can almost rest assured that any statistical data on gun-control, abortion, and drug-use will quickly become equipped with the annotation. Though there is value to being able to mark Jenny’s recently uploaded selfy as “misleading.”
While updates that are marked as hoaxes will not be flat-out deleted, they will be subject to reduced distribution in the News Feed. Just like half the stuff you’re trying to keep tabs on in Facebook. Still, maybe with fewer hoaxes appearing, you won’t miss the next time your ex makes a drunken status-update about how they miss your sexual organs.
Facebook highlighted these upcoming changes yesterday in an official blog-post. They were also kind enough to explain what a “hoax” was, as it seemed apparent that many users weren’t aware. In response to the concerns of page-owners who feared their updates may be filtered, Facebook assured that its own “research” had indicated that posts which were clearly marked as satire wouldn’t likely be affected. However, users and pages that frequently posted hoaxes or scams would have their visibility reduce.
The scope of this update will apply to posts including links, photos, videos, and status updates. So unfortunately, you will not be able to mark your best friend’s marriage to a beautiful woman as a hoax. Employment, relationship, and family status will not be affected.
What do you folks think? Is this a welcome feature, or do you think it will bring more headaches and suspicion than it’s worth? Please let us know in the comments below.