Facebook and its issue with fake news articles misinformation is an ongoing battle. The easiest solution would be to restrict these articles’ reach in a news feed. Facebook’s approach is let fake news sites remain on the platform but give them a fake news tag—or a “disputed” tag, according to ReCode.
The company has been fairly active in dealing with fake news such as using a survey to detect what is and isn’t an article with misinformation. The problem isn’t so much in how active Facebook in dealing with misinformation on the platform, but if a lot of fake news get through it makes the platform look as though it isn’t as active in its attempts to restrict the spread of misinformation.
Facebook’s “disputed tag” allows the company to tackle fake news without flirting heavily with the censorship line. The process includes users reporting the article as suspect, Facebook sending the article to known fact checkers such as Politifact or its own system finding the article deceitful, and Politifact or Snopes getting back to Facebook with its verdict.
Now the process seems like it would be effective and canning fake articles overall instead of putting a warning tag on it. As ReCode mentions, the sites are giving free fact checking. In providing a service free of charge that assignment isn’t in a priority queue so it takes awhile for a verdict on the article’s factual nature.
In the example given in ReCode, several days passed on a Seattle Tribune article about President Trump’s Android device being linked to leaks. Note that the Seattle Tribune is a satirical news site, but got into news feeds.
Overall, a light-handed approach puts the responsibility of consuming fake news squarely in the hands of the reader. Also, the tag is there and states that the content’s legitimacy is questionable or rather “disputed,” so Facebook isn’t going 100-percent in saying the news is fake and allows for the company to mark this under “an attempt was made.”