Facebook has been on the receiving end from governments of several countries for its inability to manage misinformation. In February the Indian government also introduced guidelines to regulate content shared on social media and streaming platforms making WhatsApp, a company that Facebook owns, sue the government. According to the company spokesperson, the new rules will break their ‘end-to-end encryption’ policy undermining the user’s right to privacy.
Facebook that owns WhatsApp, Instagram now has announced a slew of new measures to tackle the menace of misinformation. In an official press release, the Mark Zuckerberg-led company said it will take stronger action against users and pages repeatedly sharing misinformation, be it misleading content against Covid-19 vaccines, elections, or climate change.
Clampdown on Pages that repeatedly share misinformation
Facebook said that it will reduce the reach of serial offenders of fake news. The distribution of all posts in News Feed from these Facebook accounts, be it of an individual or a page will be reduced if they share content that has been rated by one of its fact-checking partners.
Warning users about following pages that share false claims
Users will now get a pop-up if they visit a page whose content has been repeatedly rated by Fact Checkers to warn them before liking or following them. Users can also learn more about the contents the fact-checkers have earlier flagged and link to more info about the fact-checking program. This measure will help users make an informed decision in following a page of increasing the reach of content posted by such a page.
Revamped notification feature when shared content is fact-checked
This redesigned feature will alert a user that one of the posts that they have shared had false information rated by a fact-checker along with the link of the article de-bunking the report or claim and a prompt to share the new article with followers. The users will also receive a warning that sharing false information will make their posts slide lower in the News Feed so that their friends are less likely to find them.
Now it remains to be seen what positive outcomes these expanded new guidelines will bring.