Facebook wants to help you recognise satire

In a sidebar, Facebook provides an explanation of what a ‘Satire Page’ is and indicates that Pages can decide on their own to qualify as such. — AFP Relaxnews

Facebook is innovating. In its fight against misinformation, the social network wants to give its users more tools. The next change concerns Facebook pages.

From now on, the publications that appear in your News Feed will display a new tag to better contextualise the information. The idea is to prevent readers from taking a humorous story as real news.

Stories from sites like The Onion, The Poke or The Daily Mash sometimes confuse web users who may believe their publications word for word. However, these sites create parodies of current events and stories in well-known media.

To avoid any confusion, Facebook has announced the launch of a test aimed at adding tags to the publications of the pages directly in the users' News Feed. From now on, some users will be able to see “Satire Page”, “Public Official” or “Fan Page”.

For the moment, these new features are only being rolled out in the United States and should gradually affect an increasing number of publications. Facebook has not yet indicated whether it intends to extend the test to other countries or how long it might take before deciding whether to make these settings official.

More transparency for less fake news? While Facebook has not clearly explained the reasons for such additions, these innovations confirm the platform's policy to reduce the spread of fake news. Users will be able to access explanations of what defines a satirical page “using humour, exaggeration and absurdity to make an important point” in order to better understand the page’s content. Facebook also wanted to emphasise the danger of certain publications of satirical pages that can resemble publications of recognized media to justify this new label.

Last June, the social network already expressed a desire to clearly identify the publications of the pages of media owned wholly or partially by the US government.

“We want to help people better understand who's behind the news they see on Facebook....We're providing greater transparency into these publishers because they combine the influence of a media organisation with the strategic backing of a state, and we believe people should know if the news they read is coming from a publication that may be under the influence of a government,” Facebook explained at the time on its blog. – AFP Relaxnews

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