Facebook is now taking another step to combat the spread of misinformation on their platform. They’re now going to let users know if the article they’re about to share is more than 90 days old. This announcement comes from John Hegeman, Facebook’s VP Feed and Stories.
Facebook Will Now Let People Know If They’re Sharing An Old Article
In a post in Facebook’s newsroom, Hegeman explains the reasoning behind implementing such a feature on their platform. “To ensure people have the context they need to make informed decisions about what to share on Facebook, the notification screen will appear when people click the share button on articles older than 90 days, but will allow people to continue sharing if they decide an article is still relevant,” he wrote.
So, if you’re scrolling through the feed on your Facebook account and come across an article worth sharing, Facebook will alert you to the article’s age. The reason an article’s age is relevant is that people often share older, controversial news as a current event.
Sharing Older News As Current Is Part Of How Misinformation Spreads On Facebook
As Gizmodo points out, a report from Popular Information explains how sharing older news can be problematic. “These sites identify incendiary stories — that are frequently months or years old — that prey on prejudice and fear. The sites then rewrite the stories with no indication that the story is old. This generates a “new” link that is able to thrive in Facebook’s algorithm,” reads their report.
Twitter, Facebook Trying To Regulate Sharing Of Unverified Articles
Fake news is rampant on social media. Other platforms, such as Twitter are also trying to ensure that people don’t blindly share articles. They’re now trying to ensure that people have read an article before they retweet it.
“Sharing an article can spark conversation, so you may want to read it before you Tweet it. To help promote informed discussion, we’re testing a new prompt on Android –– when you Retweet an article that you haven’t opened on Twitter, we may ask if you’d like to open it first,” wrote Twitter Support back on June 10, 2020.