Facebook drops 'disputed' tags for news stories

Facebook drops 'disputed' tags for news stories
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Facebook will get rid of its “disputed article” tag for news articles that users have flagged as likely hoax stories.

The company rolled out the flagging tool in December of 2016 as a part of its larger campaign to keep fake news stories off its platform; however, in a post on Thursday, Facebook product manager Tessa Lyons said that the feature wasn’t working as hoped.

“Academic research on correcting misinformation has shown that putting a strong image, like a red flag, next to an article may actually entrench deeply held beliefs — the opposite effect to what we intended,” Lyons wrote.


Instead of showing "disputed" tags, Facebook will show users related articles to questionable stories “to help give people more context about the story."

Lyons also noted that Facebook will launch a new initiative to help people discern whether or not certain news stories are accurate, but did not provide further details.

Facebook first introduced "disputed" tags in an attempt to quell backlash it received over how its platform became a vehicle for fake news and false information during the 2016 election.

In the days after President TrumpDonald TrumpRobert Gates says 'extreme polarization' is the greatest threat to US democracy Cassidy says he won't vote for Trump if he runs in 2024 Schiff says holding Bannon in criminal contempt 'a way of getting people's attention' MORE’s victory, CEO Mark ZuckerbergMark Elliot ZuckerbergEx-Facebook data scientist to testify before British lawmakers A defense for Facebook and global free speech Senate Democrat calls on Facebook to preserve documents related to whistleblower testimony MORE dismissed the idea that his company had played a significant role in the election. Facebook soon backtracked as stories and studies showed the reach and breadth of false stories on its platform.

"There have been claims that it swayed the election, and we don't think it swayed the election,'' Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg said one month after the election.

"But we take that responsibility really seriously. And we're looking at things, like working with third parties, helping to label false news, doing the things we can do to make it clearer what's a hoax on Facebook,” she vowed.