Face­book 'con­text' but­ton is lat­est ef­fort to fight fake news

Sunday Times (Sri Lanka) - - INTERNATIONAL -

WASH­ING­TON, (AFP) - Face­book said it was test­ing a new “but­ton” to al­low users to get more con­text about a news source, in the lat­est move by the lead­ing so­cial net­work to curb mis­in­for­ma­tion.

The new fea­ture will al­low users to get con­text on the source of a news ar­ti­cle with a sin­gle click with­out leav­ing Face­book and its news feed.

“We are test­ing a but­ton that peo­ple can tap to eas­ily ac­cess ad­di­tional in­for­ma­tion with­out need­ing to go else­where,” said a Face­book blog post signed by prod­uct man­agers An­drew Anker, Sara Su and Jeff Smith. “The ad­di­tional con­tex­tual in­for­ma­tion is pulled from across Face­book and other sources, such as in­for­ma­tion from the pub­lisher's Wikipedia en­try.” In some cases, if that in­for­ma­tion is un­avail­able, Face­book “will let peo­ple know, which can also be help­ful con­text,” the post said.

“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 move is the lat­est by Face­book to stem the flow of fake news, hoaxes and dis­in­for­ma­tion af­ter a se­ries of rev­e­la­tions show­ing how un­ver­i­fied news went vi­ral on so­cial net­works dur­ing the 2016 US elec­tion.

The an­nounce­ment comes a day af­ter US se­na­tors said they would ask ex­ec­u­tives from Face­book, Google and Twit­ter to tes­tify at a Novem­ber 1 hear­ing on Rus­sian ef­forts to ma­nip­u­late in­ter­net plat­forms dur­ing the elec­tion cam­paign.

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