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Fake News Stories on Facebook are Still Profitable

CBS News
It wasn't long ago that we were reporting on how Facebook was doubling their efforts to try and remove any fake stories. Back then we said it would be impossible to do completely but we thought that perhaps they could at least prevent the hoaxes from being spread too far. Now it's been proven that they couldn't even do that and a hoax news story actually made it into the trending topics for US users.

The story in question is about Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly claiming that she'd been kicked off the channel for backing Hillary Clinton in the election. Now if this was true then she'd have a pretty clear cut case for unfair dismissal but it isn't. Her political views aside, Kelly hasn't been fired from Fox News and viewers will continue to see her on their screens. The article came from a site called Ending The Fed, a pro-Trump and Right Wing site that seems to republish articles from other sites. We don't know whether they have permission to do this or if they're just plagiarising to get more views for their own site but this article has been the most popular. It seems weird that they would attack someone who does seem to support the same political party as them but maybe they were going for the shock factor.

On Facebook, the trending topics are chosen by an algorithm. It checks to see what Facebook users in each country are sharing and posting the most about. This was obviously one of those stories so it wound up slipping through the cracks with real news stories. It makes you wonder if Facebook did the right thing in choosing to remove any human interference with the trending topics. Where Facebook used to show a little human-written description, now they don't, and you have to assume in cases such as this that they'd look into the story to write about it and would then realise it was fake. To some users, this might seem too much like interference though and that is what got Facebook into trouble over trending topics previously. People thought they were slipping in topics no one was talking about as that's what Facebook wanted people to read, if they were removing others before users knew it was fake, they might have claimed they were picking and choosing what they wanted to share.

Facebook have since apologised and removed the article. It's not something Facebook seem to be able to prevent easily and it most likely will happen again in the future. This might be great news for hoax sites but not so much for everyone else.



Rosina is a Songbird writer with a degree in Creative Writing. She's trying to focus on her novel on the side but is glad to be playing around with apps and writing about them in the mean time! Follow her @Songbird_Rosina


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Fake News Stories on Facebook are Still Profitable Reviewed by Rosina Brooker on Wednesday, August 31, 2016 Rating: 5

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