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Facebook Testing ‘Context’ Button in Latest Attempt to Tackle Fake News


The spread of fake or misleading news on social media platforms such as Facebook has received a lot of attention of late, yet still shows no real signs of slowing down. While this may seem like a minor issue, when major world events take place this misinformation can be costly and in some cases damaging. For evidence of this you need look no further than the most recent US election, which has been long been associated with fake news and foreign meddling, eventually leading to Facebook handing over to Congress 3,000 Russia-linked ads all posted in the build-up to the US election.

The prevalence of incorrect or straight-up false statements and articles on such platforms is now having a damaging effect on the reputations of the social media platforms themselves as users become infuriated with the lack of reliability in regards to the information presented on the site, so it comes as no surprise that Facebook are continuing their efforts to prevent the spread of fake news on their own sites and platforms.

Facebook’s latest weapon in the battle against fake news comes in the form of their most recent feature test, which sees the introduction of a brand new ‘context’ button which will accompany articles shared on the site.


An official blog post authored by Facebook product managers Andrew Ankar, Sara Su, and Jeff Smith provided some extra detail as to what the new feature will entail:

“For links to articles shared in News Feed, we are testing a button that people can tap to easily access additional information without needing to go elsewhere. The additional contextual information is pulled from across Facebook and other sources, such as information from the publisher’s Wikipedia entry, a button to follow their Page, trending articles or related articles about the topic, and information about how the article is being shared by people on Facebook.”

Where the aforementioned information is unavailable, Facebook will simply inform the user of this fact, which they assert provides helpful context in its own right.

“Helping people access this important contextual information can help them evaluate if articles are from a publisher they trust, and if the story itself is credible,” the post continues.

While the effectiveness of the new feature is yet to be seen, it is reassuring to see these large companies such as Facebook - whom you could argue have a certain level of social responsibility given how their platforms have become integrated into our daily lives - taking steps to try and curtail the flow of fake news online. There is a reason that magazines remain the more trustworthy news source in the eyes of consumers as compared to social media, but if efforts such as this continue into the future then that may well change one day.



Sam is an aspiring novelist with a passion for fantasy and crime thrillers. Currently working as Editor of Social Songbird, he hopes to one day drop that 'aspiring' prefix. Follow him @Songbird_Sam

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Facebook Testing ‘Context’ Button in Latest Attempt to Tackle Fake News Reviewed by Sam Bonson on Friday, October 06, 2017 Rating: 5

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