Facebook struck yet another blow in the fight against fake news this week, rolling out its “Related Articles” feature across the platform.
Here’s how the tool works: when a controversial or disputed story appears in your News Feed, Related Articles will display a series of stories from other publishers beneath it. This will include other viewpoints and articles from third-party fact checkers. The site first began testing Related Articles in April, and it must be working; Facebook now wants to broadly implement it.
“Since starting this test, we’ve heard that Related Articles helps give people more perspectives and additional information, and helps them determine whether the news they are reading is misleading or false,” Facebook wrote in an update to its April blog post. “Now, we will start using updated machine learning to detect more potential hoaxes to send to third-party fact checkers.”
This seems like a small change, but it could potentially have huge (and positive) ramifications. By presenting content from many different perspectives as equally truthful and serious, Facebook could go a long way toward disarming the power of fake content. At the very least, it will give readers the chance to make up their own minds on what’s true and what’s not.