For several months, Facebook has tinkered with the idea of flagging spurious news stories that gain traction among its 1.86 billion monthly users. In a digital climate where “Fake News” has become a choice phrase used even by the president, Mark Zuckerberg’s empire is finally taking measures to curb the scourge of misinformation that have dogged it since the November election.
Enter Facebook’s “Disputed Stories” function, which with the help of non-partisan, third-party fact-checkers such as Snopes and Politifact, aims to mine for the truth amid the clutter. There’s a bit of crowdsourcing involved too -- users can mark stories as questionable if they so choose -- but it’s ultimately the fact-checker’s job to arbitrate what is truthful. The journalism demigods at the Poynter Institute are at the forefront of the exercise, as all fact-checkers must adhere to the institute’s “code of principles.”