Facebook Looking to Make News Feeds Better
May 28, 2018
Facebook has begun cracking down on the amount of fake news being posted to the site after individuals and businesses complained about clickbait and misinformation. The company has started the process by making it possible for users to adjust their news feed to block out these false news claims. This is meant to produce a more genuine and authentic information flow on the social media site, keeping in tune with the recent changes to other sites like Twitter and Google.
Another way Facebook is tackling false news is by banning or blocking accounts which seem forged or are sharing false news. The site has claimed to notice a link between these users and users who break other policies. So, by flagging those who might be taking a stand against authority in other areas, the site has been able to determine which users are forging materials.
Financially Motivated News
One of the major problems with the false news generation on Facebook is that it is geared toward financial initiatives. These articles always tend to have a catch or gimmick related to financial incentive. It’s become a growing problem for users who sometimes get caught up in the gimmick, only to find themselves with a new account for some survey farm or with their personal information floating around a call center for further scam opportunities.
Facebook has made their intentions known to put a stop to this financial gain through the disruption of user’s lives and hopes to do so quickly with their latest initiative. One of the ways Facebook realized fake financial lures as an issue was through interviews with those who run these fake news sites. December 2016 saw a big change when Facebook cut ad networks from posting to the social media platform when they repeatedly shared these false news stories.
Clickbait on Facebook
Clickbait has become a growing issue across the internet, not only for Facebook users, but for users on any website. Clickbait ads pop up all over the internet and draw you into interacting by boasting some startling or intriguing headline, often not having much at all to do with the content inside. Facebook is hoping that by reducing this clutter of fake news and clickbait, it will reduce the money these companies are gaining, which will put them off from constantly posting it.
Facebook uses their policy statement to define what they consider clickbait to be, which allows them to remove the user or material following repeated policy disregard. Raters, which follow Facebook feed activity, search through these materials, and if it is labeled clickbait, it is removed and the poster is penalized or banned. The company has been able to find patterns in this way which allow them to determine who should be allowed to continue posting and who should be banned completely.
Writing Code for Clickbait
So, aside from monitoring every poster who might be creating clickbait, how is Facebook keeping their policy regulated? Believe it or not, code. Facebook’s team has created a code that allows the team to send through examples of what is and isn’t clickbait, and what is and isn’t fake news. Tens of thousands of examples are required to properly define these parameters, after which the program can operate on its own, sorting real from unreal content.
Despite the ability of this program to pick apart fake news from real news, there are still going to be some posts that slip through the cracks. This is due to the different types and styles of content being posted. Some content, such as images or videos, are more difficult to pick apart than text-based posts which follow a more rigid guide.
What This Means for Users
Users can expect to get through these latest changes with little to no disruption to their daily activities on social media. Facebook continues to clear out the negative posts under the radar and hopes to take the site to a place where they no longer need to monitor activity manually but can achieve a clean and positive platform through their various codes and programs.
Users will see less fake news, less clickbait, and fewer ads related to marketing ploys and financial motivators. This includes posts about working from home, making money via surveys, and other distractions. So far, user responses to these new changes have been positive with many posting excited comments at the prospect of avoiding these unwanted posts.
Many Facebook users, outside of the circle of business users, utilize social media as a method of communicating with friends and family. From school friends and work colleagues to family members, both near and far. Following text-based posts, pictures and videos is challenging enough when there are hundreds of ads popping up daily, but this becomes even more annoying when the ads aren’t relevant, local, or worthy of the time and attention it takes to click them. Hopefully this means more changes of the same nature to the Facebook platform, although only time will tell.
Keep an eye on future Facebook changes here and through Facebook’s official news site. The company may be under flack lately due to privacy infringement and security leaks, but there are certainly some positive and user-friendly changes on the horizon as well, which shines a new light on the social media giant and their recent setbacks. Will this help Facebook gain some positive momentum on the stock market? That’s still to be determined, but it will certainly offer users a new view on the company.