It might be safe to read your news feed again soon. Facebook has begun rolling out new tools to combat the spread of ‘fake news’.
Until now, the only way to avoid ‘fake news’ on Facebook has been to, well, stay off Facebook. So it’s in the best interests of the company to do something about that.
New tools, designed to stop the dissemination of fabricated news stories via Facebook, will soon be tested in Germany.
The new feature will allow users to flag potentially false stories.
Flagged stories will be reviewed by third-party fact checkers, and if they are found to be unreliable, the stories will be marked in your news feed as “disputed”, making it easier to tell which stories are legitimate, and which are just clickbait and/or propaganda.
Disputed stories will also be deprioritised by Facebook’s news feed algorithm, limiting their potential reach.
“Last month we announced measures to tackle the challenge of fake news on Facebook,” the company said in a statement.
“We will put these updates in place in Germany in the coming weeks.”
The new feature comes after Facebook was widely criticised in the wake of the US election for helping to spread “fake news” stories that influenced voters at the polls.
The term has become somewhat amorphous, however, with President-Elect Donald Trump recently slamming CNN as “fake news”.
The feature is being rolled out in Germany, where government officials have expressed fears that fake news and hate speech on Facebook could influence September’s parliamentary election.
“We will learn from these tests in Germany and will further improve and expand our tools over time,” the company said.
“We continue to work on this challenge and will introduce these innovations in other countries in the near future.”
Until the feature becomes available in Australia, however, you’ll just have to keep sniffing “fake news” out for yourself.