In recent months and in the run up to the UK general election, both Google and Facebook have been under pressure to address fake news.
BuzzFeed research found that in the months running up to the US election, the top performing fake news items generated more engagement than top stories from major news outlets. The top 20 performing fake stories generated 8,711,0000 reactions, whilst the top 20 genuine stories generated far less at just 7,367,000… Showing just how much of an impact fake news is having.
As more people want to see accurate information, both Google and Facebook have worked on a range of ways to monitor and raise awareness of fake news.
Google has recently launched ‘Fact Check’ globally, rather than just the US. This tool displays to users that a certain piece of information or news source has been checked and verified, so you’ll be able to spot fact-checked stories immediately and whether they are classed as “true”, “false” or “somewhere in between”.
Meanwhile, Facebook is now warning users of stories that may contain dubious information by tagging stories in user’s news feeds as “disputed”. It has also introduced technology to better identify accounts that spread spam or fake news and as a result thousands of profiles have been removed.
Facebook is also fighting fake news spreading further, or even viral, by helping users easily report a fake news stories. There is also a push on helping users make better informed decisions with a number of tips that have been launched on at the top of user’s newsfeeds as well as in an offline campaign in papers including The Times, The Guardian and Daily Telegraph. The 10 tips include:
- Be sceptical of headlines
- Look closely at the URL
- Investigate the source
- Watch for unusual formatting
- Consider the photos
- Check the date
- Check the evidence
- Look at other reports
- Is the story a joke?
- Some stories are intentionally false
However, as for both Google’s ‘Fact Check’ and Facebook’s technology… It’s an algorithm that decides whether the source is trusted or not— so it’s possible that somebody is going to find a way around this sooner or later.
Let us know what your thoughts are on the steps that Facebook and Google are taking to tackle fake news… If you want any advice on social media and search engines for your business, get in touch today or feel free to pop in for a brew and a chat with our marketing experts!