Facebook has been on an all-out offensive this year to fight fake news and prevent phony content from spreading on the site. However, according to a new report from The Guardian, the site’s efforts may be having the opposite effect.
Facebook’s new fact-checking system has enlisted Snopes, PolitiFact and other trusted organizations to flag fishy stories as “disputed.” However, according to the report, people who are already liable to believe fake news stories will probably not be swayed by the tag. They already distrust what the mainstream media tells them, so verification from reputable organizations will mean nothing to them. In fact, it may even entrench their beliefs further.
Additionally, the process of flagging a story takes time. By the time fact checkers get to a story, it may have already gone viral.
“These stories are like flash grenades,” Jestin Coler, a former fake news writer, told The Guardian. “They go off and explode for a day. If you’re three days late on a fact check, you already missed the boat.”
There has been so much bad press about fake news that Facebook had to do something to address the problem. However, it seems like the site’s first step toward that goal may have fallen short.