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Does nobody at Facebook think before putting a bad idea into practice?

The bosses of the world’s largest social network, stung by accusations that it has been used to peddle ‘fake news’ stories, have rushed new measures onto the site to flag up offenders and potentials.

So an option entitled “It’s a fake news story” has been added to the site’s reporting feature, where people can report spam or offensive messages.

What happens to messages that are reported in such a way? Are they automatically blocked, or what?

Because, you know, Vox Political isn’t a news site – it’s a blog – but I occasionally run stories that are news, generated here. The Freedom of Information story on the deaths of benefit claimants was such a story.

Would Facebook block such a story – a legitimate story – from reaching the public if, say, a right-wing hate-propagandist pushed the button marked “It’s a fake news story”?

The “Disputed” stories option is better. This would refer stories that people claim are fake to third-party fact-checkers, who must sign up to a code of principles.

This could work – if the fact-checkers are adequately vetted and if the source of the story is contacted to provide evidence.

Facebook is also considering attempts to discover if people who read a story but do not share it with friends have been misled by it in some way – I also have doubts about this idea.

Lots of people read Vox Political stories but don’t share them. It’s very frustrating when I want to get something out to the world at large, but it’s also democracy in action. People read it but didn’t think it was worth bothering their friends with the link. Fair enough.

Now, Facebook is suggesting this lack of interest should be an accusation. That can’t be right.

And there’s a possibility Facebook may penalise websites that try to mimic major publishers or mislead readers into thinking they are a well-known news source – but how do you get to be a well-known news source?

Couldn’t this be used by the mass media moguls to keep the new social media pioneers down?

That’s how it seems to This Writer.

How long do you reckon it will be before somebody flags a VP story as fake? I’ll be surprised if it hasn’t happened already.

Source: Fake news: Facebook rolls out new tools to tackle false stories – BBC News

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