If Facebook would only use its new tool to combat fake news, it would revolutionize the industry

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Circuit breaker tactics are a logical way for the social network to tackle the problem of fake news, but it can also work against Facebook’s business interests. That means it’s too early to tell if Facebook’s actions on Biden’s post will be a one-time event or another act of civic responsibility by a long-established company. oppose that. The promise of a propagating circuit breakerNot all Facebook posts are treated equally as most people know. Instead, the site’s algorithm amplifies the reach of those most likely to get a response. That’s why a newborn baby photo of a longtime acquaintance will appear at the top of your Facebook feed, even if you haven’t seen any other posts by that person in years.

This is the first major rollout of a tool the company has been testing for several months. Facebook calls the tool a “viral content rating system,” while some media outlets and research groups call it a “circuit breaker.” Whatever its name, the tool has enormous potential to curb the tsunami of false or misleading news on topics like politics and health.

While the algorithm rewards photos of babies and puppies, it also tends to promote news stories, including fake ones, that are likely to trigger a reaction. This happened before the 2016 election when articles from Macedonian websites posing as conservative US news sites went viral on Facebook. (The sites in question are run by teenagers who want to make money from advertising.)

Today, the problem of fake news spreading on Facebook is just as common and perhaps even more dangerous. This week, The New York Times listed four fake election stories that were widely circulated on Facebook, including a baseless story about an impending Democratic coup that has been viewed nearly 3 million times. . Another example, which is trending in left-wing circles, is a false report about a mysterious group blocking mailboxes to prevent voting. And last month, Facebook users spread (also untrue) stories that radical leftists were causing wildfires in the West. The ensuing hysteria resulted in the sheriff’s office and fire department wasting vital time and resources on nuisance calls. So far, Facebook has responded to this kind of viral misinformation by appointing a fact-checking team that Facebook employs, which could cause Facebook to remove certain stories or label warnings for they.

However, critics say the process is flawless as any feedback usually comes a few days later, meaning the stories have reached a large audience. Or, as an axiom, “[Facebook’s] lie went halfway around the world before the truth had a chance to take its course.”

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