Mark Zuckerberg would probably love to bury any link between Facebook and the rise of fake news, but he can't. The social media titan has been widely criticised for not doing anything about the spread of the false stories, but now it seems to be actively doing something about it.
In a new drive to tackle the problem here in the UK, in the run-up to June 8th's general election, Facebook has revamped its News Feed and deleted thousands of accounts flagged for continuously spreading bullshit. Thankfully you don't need to worry about your mum or dad getting banned for sharing that bendy banana nonsense over and over again. Facebook's new flagging technology is designed to go after accounts that "repeatedly post the same things."
That includes spam and fake news, but probably not the same three of four Minion memes your Great Aunt can't get enough of
Also implemented is a system that demotes suspicious articles, and stops them from appearing in the News Feed as often. Part of this involves testing new tech that recognises when people click on a link, but don't share it with their friends. Supposedly this is a indicator that the content isn't accurate. Or that you're not one of those people that shares everything they read with a hundred or so people they've never actually met.
While it might seem that Facebook is doing this out of the goodness of its own heart, to preserve freedom and democracy, it's really just covering its own back. Facebook is apparently worried that the negative publicity could undermine advertisers confidence in the site - even though it announced a 76 per cent growth in profits just last week. But that possible threat, coupled with the fact at least one government has threatened to fine the company, is enough for Facebook to take serious action. [Telegraph]