Facebook is making steps to ensure that everyone gets their facts right before forming their own opinion on a topic trending on the popular social media platform. Recently, the company tweaked its Related Articles feature and introduced an updated machine learning technology to help spot potential misleading or fake news.
Facebook’s Related Articles feature, which is basically a list of recommended articles appearing after a post, was introduced in 2013 as a way to expose readers to other viewpoints from different sources on the same topic. With the additional information and perspective, it was hoped that readers of trending social media posts will become better informed on their topics of interest, allowing them to participate intelligently in online discussions. In addition, it is also a clever way of minimizing the spread of fake news as readers will be able to do some fact-checking themselves before sharing a story.
After the company was accused of enabling the spread of fake political news on its platform during the U.S. elections, Facebook tweaked the Related Articles feature last April. The updated feature, which was tested to a small group of U.S. users, now shows the list of additional articles to readers even before they read an article in the news feed as they appear as links below a news story in their feeds.
Facebook announced that the updated feature is now being rolled out broadly in the United States as of August 3, 2017. Forbes reported that the updated Related Articles feature is also available for users in some European countries such as the Netherlands, France, and Germany.
Recently, fake news has become a tricky issue for Facebook in Europe as well. Before the May 2017 presidential election in the country, French voters were reported to have been bombarded with a barrage of fake news reports. With its election coming this September, Germany is mulling over a plan to fine social network platforms should they fail to halt the spread of hateful posts.
But Facebook has technology on its side. The social media giant likewise announced that it can now screen potential fake news better with its updated machine learning technology.[Featured Image by Pixabay]