Facebook drops ‘disputed’ flag and commits to speeding up ‘fake news’ response

Social media giant Facebook will be dropping its “disputed” flag on contentious posts while speeding up its fight on verifying news stories as part of its effort to fight the viral spread of fake news, the company has announced.

Posting on the company’s newsroom site, product manager Tessa Lyons described how the service will no longer be flagging contentious news posts as ‘disputed’ but instead will be placing related stories alongside dubious articles to counter potentially false statements.

Dan Zigmond, the company’s director of analytics, details in an attached video the steps Facebook is taking to fight misinformation and what it calls ‘false news’ on the platform before stating the service is planning to speed up the process of verifying dubious news stories shared by users.

While the process Zigmond describes has been previously laid out by Facebook executives – most notably by Newsfeed vice president Adam Mosseri and head of journalism partnerships Áine Kerr – during their Sydney visits last year, he highlighted the time taken by the platform’s fact checking partners to verify dubious posts reduces the effectiveness of the company’s efforts in fighting misinformation.

Dan Zigmond, Facebook head of analytics: “We’ve made great progress but we still have a lot of work to do.”

“Although our current process can reduce the distribution of false news by eighty per cent, once it’s identified, we aren’t stopping there and e know the process is taking too long. It commonly takes over three days for fact checkers to provide their ratings and we know most impressions typically happen in that initial time period.

“That’s just not good enough. So we’re working hard now to accelerate this process. We’ve made great progress but we still have a lot of work to do.”


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