Facebook has worked hard to remove fake content over the past year, deprioritizing spammy posts and even hiring fact checkers to weed them out. However, according to a new report from Media Matters for America, phony stories about celebrities are still rising up Facebook’s search results even after they’ve been debunked by Facebook’s fact-checking partners.
Some of these fake stories include Miley Cyrus becoming a British citizen, Sylvester Stallone calling Barack Obama a “closet homosexual,” Tina Turner attacking Trump supporters and more. Of course, these salacious “stories” aren’t real in any sense of the word, and are only created to entice users to click, but that doesn’t stop them from going viral. The fake article about Tina Turner was only published a week and a half ago, and it has already amassed more than 8,000 engagements.
The fact-checking organizations Facebook partners with often report these stories to Facebook, but even if they’re marked as false, that doesn’t necessarily prevent them from showing up in search. As long as the content doesn’t violate the platform’s community standards, it can remain posted for anyone to read. In other words: users are going to need to get smarter about discerning what’s fake and what’s not, because Facebook won’t always resolve the issue for us.