Facebook is finally launching a new feature to combat fake news, after six months of testing — here’s how it works
Additional information about articles that have been shared includes a Wikipedia link, information about the publication, and total number of shares across Facebook
By Kif Leswing
Your News Feed will soon help you spot which stories are from reliable sources, and which articles are fake news, Facebook announced.
People in the United States will soon see a change in Facebook that adds additional information to news stories in Facebook. Specifically, the additional information includes a Wikipedia link, information about the publication, related stories, and the total number of shares across Facebook.
In a new test, Facebook will also provide biographical information for the author as well as links to their other stories.
The visual signal is a little “about this article” icon near the bottom-left corner of the article’s image. Tap on it, and you’ll get more information.
It’s hard to imagine without seeing it, so here’s what Facebook says it looks like:
Given the recent controversies over fake news, Facebook’s data use, and “growth at all costs” mentality, Facebook’s design team also gave a peek into how it designed this change in a post on Medium.
“We designed these features with feedback and input from a diverse set of people and publishers, including many participants in the Facebook Journalism Project,” Facebook said.
It turns out, Facebook’s design team started with recent research and internal surveys that said people had issues determining the credibility of unfamiliar websites and partisan content.
Then, Facebook went through a “design sprint” with a dozen designers and researchers to mock up a “prototype” of what additional information could look like. This involved printing out a tonne of “modules” with information like publisher location, sharing trends, and number of employees to see if they might help determine whether a story was worth trusting.
After Facebook figured out what to show users, it then had to find a way to get their attention.
Here’s what people look at when evaluating if a story is fake news, according to Facebook:
Early on, we tested a static entry point with a relatable icon (identified through early interviews). However, we found that people frequently missed the button. After later conducting in-depth interviews with eye-tracking, we learned that — when evaluating articles on Facebook — the same three areas overall tended to draw people’s attention (ordered depending on the individual):
A) The face of the friend, group, or Page who shared the post,
B) Faces (if present) in the article’s preview image, and
C) The headline of the article.
While the new update to Facebook to fight fake news might be easy to miss in the feed, it represents the result of about six months of testing and a tonne of work, according to Facebook.
The new feature is available in the US now, and Facebook is working to bring the new additional information to other countries, because it knows how important reliable information is. “In Western Europe, we found that it could play a key role before critical moments like elections, “ the Facebook team wrote.