Facebook is in the news, again. This time for continuing the conversation of combating fake news on their platform. According to an article published by CNET, Facebook announced that it is taking new steps to prevent misinformation, scams and other questionable content from going viral on the platform. One of these measures include monitoring groups that are private in order to stop the cycle of fake news.
Facebook Fake News Detection
This comes at a price for the user, and again, this price is privacy. Facebook private groups were originally intended for users to post content that only members of the group could view. However, with the implementation of these new steps, groups won’t necessarily be private.
CNET reports that Facebook will begin to evaluate how its administrators and monitors decide what content to remove or keep in order to determine if a group is violating Facebook’s rules. In addition, the company also plans to release a Group Quality feature. This will allow group administrators to view content that was removed and flagged, which includes fake news.
These new measures are likely to be in response to the criticism the company has faced over the years when it comes to misinformation about vaccines, politics, and other forms of fake news. Remember when you would constantly see anti-vaccine content?
Facebook already has community standards in place that prohibit content that contains hate speech, nudity, and other offensive posts. However, these standards don’t necessarily include content, like fake news and clickbait, if there is not a risk of offline violence or voting discouragement.
New Measures Taken for Fake News Detection in Facebook
With help from journalists and fact-checking experts like the Associated Press, Facebook is working harder to combat the issue of Fake News. However, as the social network grows and introduces new features, this process will only get harder. Right now, their story feature allows users to post pictures and videos that will vanish in 24 hours, making it harder to review the content. Looks like when they “took a page out of snapchat’s book” for their story feature, they didn’t research the drawbacks enough. Poor Facebook.
Facebook, Free Speech, and an Internet Platform’s Responsibility
Even though all of these new measures sound like they are intending to do good, they still open the door for issues regarding free speech and privacy. We all joke about the government watching us through our smartphones, but the reality is that you really don’t know who is watching or listening to you. If you think about Facebook’s two billion users worldwide, you understand how powerful the platform actually is, and how hard it is to control.
Even Mark Zuckerberg himself (Founder and CEO of Facebook) has asked the government to implement stronger Internet privacy and election laws. According to an article published by CNBC, “Zuckerberg said new regulations are needed to protect society from harmful content, ensure election integrity, protect people’s privacy and to guarantee data portability.”
It seems impossible though, to protect privacy while also trying to monitor harmful content and fake news.
Outside of these new tactics developed to prevent fake news, Facebook also announced that it is planning on launching a new section of the platform that will be dedicated to “high quality” and “trustworthy” news, according to CNN Business. Hopefully, Facebook can move past its reputation with fake news and can earn the trust of its users again as a reliable news source.
In the meantime, watch out for new features on the platform that may not protect your right to free speech or online privacy. Make sure to read and understand Facebook’s rules and community guidelines as they may be changing in the months to come.