Facebook has announced its plans to allow users to flag stories in their newsfeeds that they deem to be a “hoax” or “misleading”.
An option is soon to appear under the light grey arrow seen on every post which will say “false news story.” As more people click on this option Facebook’s algorithm will then flag it as a “hoax” and subsequently hide it from users’ newsfeeds.
If a story is bombarded with a large number of flags, a message will pop up declaring that “many people on Facebook have reported that this story contains false information,” CNN Money explains.
So the offending story doesn’t disappear, but it is conveniently tucked under the rug for fewer people to see.
Why is Facebook doing this? The move comes on the heels a survey it published last year studying how fast those memes and viral hoaxes travel through Facebook. Now, it’s taking what it learned and using algorithms to scrub out the nonsense.
TechCrunch says that each time those hoaxes gain traction (say that false Facebook copyright notice), it reflects poorly on Facebook. The tech blog writes: “People hold Facebook responsible for what’s in the News Feed. They’ll blame the authors, but their frustration leads them to visit Facebook less.” Therefore, it’s a “problem for business.”