Facebook Launches Effort to Rein in Fake News

From the "Facebook Facts" video

From the "Facebook Facts" video

Facebook is continuing to try to address the issues around fake news that have put it in the spotlight in Washington, including threats that if it did not do something about being used as a misinformation tool by foreign actors and others, Congress would.

That threat came from a Democratic senator from California, the home of Silicon Valley.

Facebook this week announced a three-pronged effort to combat misinformation, and help restore trust in the massive social platform.

"False news is bad for people and bad for Facebook," blogged Tessa Lyons, a product manager on News Feed, concentrating on false news. "We’re making significant investments to stop it from spreading and to promote high-quality journalism and news literacy."

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Appropriately, the company posted a Facebook video, Facing Facts, to explain how the company is coming to terms with mistakes is has made, why they were made, and what it needs to do to reduce the chances for misuse of its social platform without becoming a censor. Members of the News Feed team talk in the video about the complexity of the problem and how they are trying to tackle it.

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Adam Mosseri, VP, product management, News Feed/Sharing, said Facebook had made mistakes in what it had done, how it explained what it did, and "perhaps not explaining enough."

The Facebook approach also includes a news literacy campaign via print ads and on the News Feed providing tips on how to spot false news and filling in the general public on the steps Facebook is taking.   

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.