Facebook has updated its News Feed to share fewer hoax stories. That Loch Ness Monster sighting your aunt shared? Hopefully it should be a thing of the past.
“We’ve heard from people that they want to see fewer stories that are hoaxes, or misleading news,” Erich Owens and Udi Weinsberg, a software engineer and research scientist respectively, wrote in a blog post. “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.”
What kind of hoaxes is it talking about? It defines them as News Feed spam (all those ‘free iPad’ posts you see) or “deliberately false or misleading news stories”. When a lot of people flag a story as false, it will drop down the pecking order in the algorithm. Usually they are fairly high up due to the number of comments they receive, even though most of the comments point out that it’s a hoax.
A warning will pop up on false-flagged posts that reads: “Many people on Facebook have reported that this story contains false information.”
But don’t worry, satirical posts shouldn’t be affected, as long as enough people understand the joke.