With the U.S. midterm elections right around the corner, it’s more vital than ever for Facebook to detect and eliminate fake news from its platform. However, according to one of the company’s most prominent fact-checking partners, that may be an impossible goal.
After Facebook was rocked by disinformation campaigns during the 2016 presidential election, the social media giant turned to news organizations and neutral third parties to weed out spammy content. The result, according to PolitFact editor Angi Holan, is a dashboard that these organizations can access that looks like “the worst news feed you’ve ever seen.” In an interview with Marketplace, Holan said she’s optimistic that the quality of information on Facebook can eventually improve. However, she also said it’s a problem that will likely always exist in some capacity.
“I feel like this is a problem to be managed rather than solved,” Holan told Marketplace.org. “If you look at history… there have always been problems with misinformation and the need for people to find ways to mark sources as credible and authoritative. So I don’t see that the problem on Facebook is going away. It can get better, but it’s not going to go away.”
As a Facebook user, all you can really do to avoid this sort of bad content is unfollow the pages and accounts that share it, and flag it for Facebook to review. Beyond that, just don’t believe everything you read — especially on social media.