Facebook launches Disputed tag to combat fake news

Facebook has rolled out a new tool for fighting fake news. This new feature is called the Disputed tag. By this, users can identify false stories on their news feed before they read them. So, basically, if you see a Facebook post with a tag that says, Disputed by Snopes.com and/or Politifact, the news is fake.

During the US Presidential election campaign last year, the Internet was awash with various fake news sites. These fake news sources were responsible of misleading millions of people around the world. The most notorious example of this trend was the Pizzagate scandal. This was when a man opened fire on a Pizza restaurant because he read about a Hilary Clinton-sponsored child sex ring being run from that restaurant. That was totally false, of course. However, he wouldn’t have opened fire on the restaurant if someone had not deliberately misinformed everyone.

Facebook announced a little while ago that it would take steps to combat the spread of fake news.  Now, Facebook users can flag suspicious stories as “fake news”. Facebook then passes these disputed stories to third-party fact-checking organizations. If the fact-checkers agree that the story is misleading, it will appear on the News Feed with a Disputed tag. It will also come with a link to a corresponding article which would explain why it is false. Users who attempt to share these posts will receive a warning before they share them.

This is a brilliant move by Facebook. It will definitely help to reduce the spread of falsehoods online. Furthermore, Facebook is compiling a list of website domains that post fake news. Whenever, these sites post anything to Facebook, they get flagged immediately. Thus, they cannot profit from these stories. Note that the feature is available only to a select few at the moment; but it will roll out to the general public in the coming weeks.

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