We’ve all been affected by it one way or another – that catchy, click-bait headline on your Facebook news feed just begging to be clicked.
You succumb, you read through the entire article and repost it only to later find out it was all an elaborate hoax. Cue the face palm.
Well, very soon, all that could be a thing of the past as Facebook has announced it will be stepping up efforts to stop bogus news and contests appearing on your Timeline!
Here’s an excerpt taken from the blog post written by Facebook software engineer Erich Owens:
“We’ve heard from people that they want to see fewer stories that are hoaxes, or misleading news. Today’s update to News Feed reduces the distribution of posts that people have reported as hoaxes and adds an annotation to posts that have received many of these types of reports to warn others on Facebook.”
Based on their data, Facebook announced that News Feed spam and hoax reposts tend to be deleted when users realise they’ve been tricked.
In fact, these “scams or deliberately misleading news” are flagged and reported two and a half times more frequently than other posts. So yes, your efforts have not been in vain.
Here’s how the latest update to Facebook’s detection system works:
“To reduce the number of these types of posts, News Feed will take into account when many people flag a post as false. News Feed will also take into account when many people choose to delete posts.
This means a post with a link to an article that many people have reported as a hoax or chosen to delete will get reduced distribution in News Feed. This update will apply to posts including links, photos, videos and status updates.”
While Facebook insists most publishers on its site should not be impacted by the update, those who frequently publish hoaxes and scams, however, might see a decrease in the distribution of their content.
That is, of course, unless their content is “clearly labelled as satire” and intended to be humorous which, according to data, tend not to be reported.
So if you’re a fan of The Onion, you probably don’t have to worry – although we might find your preference of “news” questionable.