It’s kind of sad that we’ve come to this point, the point at which Facebook will now being flagging hoaxes and intentionally deceptive content as ‘fake news’. I say that it’s sad because I used to have faith in my fellow human beings, faith that they could spot bullshit for what it is, but I was really wrong. I guess, at the end of the day if you stop and think of the most average person you know, and then realize that 50% of the population is dumber than that person, it’s easy to understand why Facebook‘s being forced to protect the idiots and morons from themselves.
In Facebook’s new program, the fact checking on stories will be done third-party organizations, not Facebook itself. They want to remove any doubts people may have that Facebook is biased in determining what is and isn’t ‘fake news‘. Instead, Brian Stelter of Reliable Sources notes that fact checking will be done by organizations who ‘have committed to the International Fact Checking Code of Principles, which was recently established by Poynter, a journalism organization.’
Facebook wants to rely on its community to police fake news, and they’ll do so by allowing the dozens of news outlets pledged to this new International Fact Checking Code of Principles.
Facebook VP Adam Mosseri released a blog post earlier today in which he outlined the steps Facebook will be taking to stop stupid people from sharing fake news:
We believe providing more context can help people decide for themselves what to trust and what to share. We’ve started a program to work with third-party fact checking organizations that are signatories of Poynter’s International Fact Checking Code of Principles. We’ll use the reports from our community, along with other signals, to send stories to these organizations. If the fact checking organizations identify a story as fake, it will get flagged as disputed and there will be a link to the corresponding article explaining why. Stories that have been disputed may also appear lower in News Feed.
Facebook is also tackling head-on the issue of fake news spammers being financially motivated. They pump out bullshit that’s certain to stir up controversy, put that fake news in front of people who want to believe it, and those confirmation-bias-loving-dickheads share that fake content that backs up their bullshit. But in the end, it’s the spammers who make out the best because they’re getting paid.
Frankly, I’m shocked that Facebook has taken these steps to eradicate fake news from their platform because they, like the spammers, have an incredible financial incentive to keep the masses happy and allow them to share whatever bullshit they want. Traditionally, Facebook only makes decisions based on the financial incentives, but it appears this time around they’re actually looking out for the credibility of their platform by building a dam against bullshit.
As I mentioned several times above, there is now an International Fact-Checking Code of Principles established by Poynter.org, here’s an overview of those principles so you can know what the fact checkers are being held to:
1. A COMMITMENT TO NONPARTISANSHIP AND FAIRNESS
We fact-check claims using the same standard for every fact check. We do not concentrate our fact-checking on any one side. We follow the same process for every fact check and let the evidence dictate our conclusions. We do not advocate or take policy positions on the issues we fact-check.
2. A COMMITMENT TO TRANSPARENCY OF SOURCES
We want our readers to be able to verify our findings themselves. We provide all sources in enough detail that readers can replicate our work, except in cases where a source’s personal security could be compromised. In such cases, we provide as much detail as possible.
3. A COMMITMENT TO TRANSPARENCY OF FUNDING & ORGANIZATION
We are transparent about our funding sources. If we accept funding from other organizations, we ensure that funders have no influence over the conclusions we reach in our reports. We detail the professional background of all key figures in our organization and explain our organizational structure and legal status. We clearly indicate a way for readers to communicate with us.
4. A COMMITMENT TO TRANSPARENCY OF METHODOLOGY
We explain the methodology we use to select, research, write, edit, publish and correct our fact checks. We encourage readers to send us claims to fact-check and are transparent on why and how we fact-check.
5. A COMMITMENT TO OPEN AND HONEST CORRECTIONS
We publish our corrections policy and follow it scrupulously. We correct clearly and transparently in line with our corrections policy, seeking so far as possible to ensure that readers see the corrected version.
To read Facebook’s plan in full, you can head on over and read VP Adam Mosseri’s blog post.