Facebook announced this week that it has teamed up with Storyful, a tech company that helps news organizations find and verify content on social media, to create a new program called FB Newswire. This resource will help journalists find and share content on Facebook. However, Storyful’s technology could also help stop fake news and hoaxes from spreading on Facebook.
You’ve seen them before: stories or links on Facebook that purport to have shocking or breaking information about a prominent story in the news. A recent example would be the spate of hoaxes that cropped up in the wake of Malaysian flight MH 370 going missing that claimed the plane had been found. Through a rigorous verification process, Storyful works to weed out fake stories like those so only the genuine articles remain.
“We adopt a natural skepticism to every item of content we discover,” Storyful wrote in a blog post. “Verification is a cornerstone of our work and it has to be. Information and content often spreads across social media in ‘Chinese whispers’ fashion. Videos and images are spliced, diced and re-posted. Context and details change, agendas compete. Falsehoods and fabrications are deliberately issued.”
Since many of these fake stories on Facebook link to advertising or spam, FB Newswire could prove to be a valuable tool not only in assisting journalists but also in stopping the spread of malware on the site.