Facebook: Yo 'people'! Zap fake news on our giant ad farm, would'ja?
But ridiculing Zuck is FINE
Facebook has asked its users (sorry, people) to flag up posts on the free-content ad network that they think are hoaxes masquerading as news items.
However, the Mark Zuckerberg-run company claimed that links to satirical stories would not be culled from Facebook as a side-effect of the crackdown on fake stuff.
But asking its users (sorry, people) to spot the difference between sarcasm and scams might prove a bit of a stretch.
In fact, Facebook – in a recent sense of humour fail – began labelling posts linking to parody pieces such as the stuff churned out by the Onion with "satire" tags to help users (sorry, people) distinguish them from the real news.
It's done this to aid dullards who are easily tricked by scornful prose.
Facebook's software engineer Erich Owens said in a blog post that Zuck's empire wanted to flush out imposters on the site. But to do this, it's not paying its own people to cut them loose, instead it is relying on its users (sorry, people) to poke their forks at fakes.
We’ve heard from people that they want to see fewer stories that are hoaxes, or misleading news.
Today’s update to News Feed reduces the distribution of posts that people have reported as hoaxes and adds an annotation to posts that have received many of these types of reports to warn others on Facebook.
We are not removing stories people report as false and we are not reviewing content and making a determination on its accuracy.
Owens promised that satirical links would not suddenly disappear from Facebook. Apparently, its users (sorry, people) are actually quite good at spotting parody, irony and sarcasm in posts.
"We’ve found from testing that people tend not to report satirical content intended to be humorous, or content that is clearly labelled as satire. This type of content should not be affected by this update," he said.
"The vast majority of publishers on Facebook will not be impacted by this update. A small set of publishers who are frequently posting hoaxes and scams will see their distribution decrease."
Surprisingly, though, this Facebook page – which seemingly contains tons of fake or misleading information – remained up and running at time of writing. Which is a mystery, right? ®