Posted in FACEBOOK, fact checking

Facebook started its quiet revolution

Something memorable has happened: at least Facebook has taken an active part against the circulation of fake news.

For the first time the social network has marked as “disputed” an article about Trump published by “The Seattle Tribune“.

According to the author of the accused piece Lucas Bagwell, the several leaks of confidential information about the president would come from the fact that he is using an unsafe Android smartphone – and in this way someone would have managed to force secret data and information.

The website where it appeared  has a layout similar to other media agencies and it has also the motto”Informing the Nation“.
Despite this fact “The Seattle Tribune” is in reality just a little more than a blog and as a matter of fact if you read well it would be clear that it is a satirical publication.

However it is probably difficult to score in this article the satirical intent at the first look and define it “fake news” because of its journalistic aspect thanks to its length and its abundance of links.
Bagwell also quoted two security agencies that unfortunately do not exist (despite their perfectly invented professional names ).
So it is not just a false report, but it is artfully constructed to look like real news article.

Now, what makes this story different from all those concerning false news circulating on Facebook and creating mess on the information world is that on Friday march 2nd (the article was published on february 26) in the United States a red light appeared under this article indicating that it is an unverified news.


Sorry, “disputed” news.

According to fact checking sites Politifact (that we have already covered in this blog) and Snopes this news is completely false (you can read their justification here and here ).

After the controversy about the role that disinformation is considered to have had in the last American election campaign, Facebook had promised that it would taken a stand against the dissemination of false news.

Therefore, it elaborated a clear process against fake news: everything starts with a report from community members or by an analysis carried out by a the software, and only after the news is examined  by fact-checking agencies as Snopes, Politifact or Correctiv.
If they are all agree about the untruth of the news  it is  reported as “disputed”.

The choice of the word “disputed” has been contested because of its affinity to the concept of “alternative facts” and for the fact that it does not mean exactly “false”.

Is it just a drop in the ocean or this innovation will change rapidly the way in which we inform and trust between ourselves?

At this time I do not know it, but what it is certainly a fact is that it is the first time since its birth in 2004 that Faceboook has made something intense like this.

And we believe in facts, don’t we?