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Facebook Begins Marking 'Fake News' As 'Disputed' (wdrb.com) 208

An anonymous reader writes: Facebook is now marking fake news as "disputed," several sites reported today. "According to Facebook's Help Center, news stories that are reported as fake by people on Facebook may be reviewed by independent, third-party fact-checkers," writes WDRB Media. "The fact-checkers will be signatories of the non-partisan Poynter Code of Principles. A story will be marked as disputed if fact-checkers find the story to be fake."

Mashable reports that the feature was rolled out quietly, and didn't gain much attention until it was noticed Friday by a reporter from Gizmodo, who tweeted a screenshot showing Facebook's new "disputed" icon. Further investigation revealed Facebook's help center now includes a page explaining how news gets marked as disputed, and another page informing users how to mark a news story as fake (which points out this feature "isn't available to everyone yet.")

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Facebook Begins Marking 'Fake News' As 'Disputed'

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 04, 2017 @04:02PM (#53976811)

    What a poor move by Facebook. So basically all articles from Faux News will not say fake but will say disputed. This does almost nothing for the poor people who don't know Fox is pure conservative slanted fantasy and believe it to be fact. On top of this I see it as more ammunition for the right wingers claiming the left is trying to dispute their claims.

    • by lucm ( 889690 ) on Saturday March 04, 2017 @04:10PM (#53976845)

      What they need is another tag: "biased". Because often news on right or left media outlets are not exactly fake, but they're presented in a way that favors a political view.

      • by epyT-R ( 613989 ) on Saturday March 04, 2017 @04:46PM (#53977005)

        Might as well make that tag automatic for all news posts.

        • Re: (Score:1, Interesting)

          by Anonymous Coward

          It should just be under the page header. "Warning. All information presented in any linked articles is subject to extreme bias, and cannot be trusted."

          Otherwise, Facebook's labeling of "disputed" will render Facebook itself legitimately biased.

          • Except there's a rather large difference between opinion (e.g. Is allowing large numbers of refugees into the country good or bad) and flat-out falsehood (e.g. The Bowling Green terror attack or the Friday night terror attack in Sweden).

    • by Z00L00K ( 682162 )

      I suspect that the majority of all news would end up being "disputed" as long as there are more than one opinion on it.

      Left is volcano eruptions, earthquakes and weather that may escape the "disputed" label.

      • by Mr D from 63 ( 3395377 ) on Saturday March 04, 2017 @06:16PM (#53977311)
        If someone marks a news item as disputed which turns out to be true, they should be eliminated from being able to mark items in the future.
        • by Anonymous Coward

          Who determines what's true? Who will be the final arbiter? All this becomes is tyranny of the majority. This is no fix.

          • It not perfect but perfect is the enemy of good, getting your news from Facebook is not good, but people clearly are. I fail to see how letting some political interest just swamp real fact with misinformation unchallenged is better, in theory people can go to other news sources of different political position to confirm facts but don't.
          • A joint, open-sourced AI project by IBM, Google, and leading universities should be built to serve as an objective, disinterested physical and social world modeller and it can answer truth-likelihood and objectiveness/bias tendency of all statements except those whose answer is 42.

            We could call it "Oracle" - no wait, scratch that. Any other suggestions for its name?

        • by Chris Mattern ( 191822 ) on Saturday March 04, 2017 @09:21PM (#53977967)

          And who gets to determine that a news item has "turned out to be true"?

          • by guises ( 2423402 )
            Independent, third-party fact-checkers who are signatories of the non-partisan Poynter Code of Principles. You could at least read the summary.
          • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

            The bar isn't "is it true?", the bar is "is it widely debunked?" So it's actually fairly easy to judge. Lots of respected media outlets debunked pizzagate, for example.

    • by gnick ( 1211984 ) on Saturday March 04, 2017 @06:06PM (#53977289) Homepage

      ...Fox is pure conservative slanted fantasy and [people] believe it to be fact.

      Fox may be "conservative slanted" and it's not to my taste - I stick mostly to CNN & BBC - but it is typically factually accurate. O'Reilly having a miscredited guest on talking about Sweden was enough to make headlines and is a rare exception to the rule. Neither CNN nor Fox make a habit out of mis-stating facts and, when they do, they both have reasonable track records of correcting themselves. Both have stellar records compared to our current White House.

      All sources are slanted and there are many places you can seek out and find genuinely bogus stories, but neither CNN nor Fox should be labelled blanketly "fake news."

      • The actual news part of Fox News is usually factual. The pundits often lie, and Bill O'Reilly is far from the worse offender.
      • I stick mostly to CNN & BBC - but it is typically factually accurate.

        Yes, the BBC can be very accurate, especially when they announced the collapse of WTC building 7 even before it had happened yet.

        • Confusion is to be expected during rapidly evolving, large scale events.
        • by gnick ( 1211984 )

          Yes, the BBC can be very accurate, especially when they announced the collapse of WTC building 7 even before it had happened yet.

          If your prime example of the BBC falsifying information is a moment of confusion while scrambling around in international turmoil more than 15 years ago, I don't think I'll be abandoning them as as a news source just yet. Prematurely announcing the collapse was an understandable mistake, not remotely an attempt at propaganda.

          Surely if they were really a problem you could find something a little more persuasive.

          • I think it's worse than that when you know it on beforehand. Had nothing to do with confusion.
            • by gnick ( 1211984 )

              I think it's worse than that when you know it on beforehand. Had nothing to do with confusion.

              Oh! Now I see! Once we eliminate the absurd notion that a mistake was made during all of the confusion, we're left with the obvious conclusion that the BBC had prior knowledge of the events. It's so clear now! How did I miss it?

              Perhaps because I'm not a paranoid, conspiracy-theorist whack-job.

        • by Maritz ( 1829006 )

          I stick mostly to CNN & BBC - but it is typically factually accurate.

          Yes, the BBC can be very accurate, especially when they announced the collapse of WTC building 7 even before it had happened yet.

          Thanks for putting your other comments into context. I used to be a truther. Then I grew the fuck up.

      • The problem with Fox is that it isn't news, it's opinion. The reporting of factual information is just a small, unimportant aspect of their programming. They are about producing a narrative. For example, they won't just report that Chelsea Manning said something, they will mention it in passing and then spend half an hour talking about what an "ungrateful traitor" she is. The news bit is just a jumping off point for the rant, the rant being the main content.

        And then half an hour later the President tweets the same thing. That's what they are about, feeding people the narrative.

    • by Chris Mattern ( 191822 ) on Saturday March 04, 2017 @09:18PM (#53977963)

      So basically all articles from Faux News will not say fake but will say disputed.

      Nope. I predict that the marking will be very quickly subverted and *all* articles will be marked disputed, regardless of source.

    • What a poor move by Facebook. So basically all articles from Faux News will not say fake but will say disputed. This does almost nothing for the poor people who don't know Fox is pure conservative slanted fantasy and believe it to be fact. On top of this I see it as more ammunition for the right wingers claiming the left is trying to dispute their claims.

      Fox News is not fake news.

      They have a history of pushing biased narratives, often biased to the point of misleading the reader, but that doesn't make them "fake news", it just makes them a bad primary source of information.

      Fake news is simpler than that, it's news that is simply made up, it talks about events that didn't occur, uses quotes that people didn't make, and it doesn't publish corrections because it was never trying to be correct in the first place.

      There's a reason Trump has spent the last few wee

    • I'm quite happy with their 'independent' reviews, because those will mark for me the messages that are worth reading and must be credible, because they don't want 'the truth' to be published...
  • The fact-checkers will be signatories of the non-partisan Poynter Code of Principles.

    The very people that I see on social media passing around some of the most egregiously toxic meme "explainers" and the like also won't go a week without citing posts on Poynter about how important it is to show integrity in reporting. Being "a signatory" to something doesn't mean squat. Hillary Clinton, for example, signed all sorts of things recording her promises not to do the very things she then went right and did as secretary of state. People who illegally register to vote do so by signing a document

    • by lucm ( 889690 ) on Saturday March 04, 2017 @04:19PM (#53976891)

      Yes. Those who sign that should be considered informed and neutral in the context of Facebook employees, given a spectrum that starts with "anti-Trump" and ends with "supporters of violent anti-Trump demonstrations and opposed to democracy if it means Trump can get elected".

    • It's the lesser of two evils. There are too many gullible idiots out there. Look at how many people on Slashdot fell for pizzagate.

      You either have a small number of errors marking stuff as fake, or you have a tidal wave of fake news. And I'm sure if it does get abused, we will see hundreds of articles pointing it out.

      • by Kjella ( 173770 ) on Saturday March 04, 2017 @05:06PM (#53977075) Homepage

        It's the lesser of two evils. There are too many gullible idiots out there. Look at how many people on Slashdot fell for pizzagate.

        The question is, does a disputed tag actually meaningfully help? I mean pretty much everyone knows that pizzagate is "disputed", that is some claim it happened and some claim it never did. The "truthers" of all colors will never care that the mainstream refute their story, it's the conspiracy/establishment/illuminati trying to censor the truth. Unless you have the balls to label it as "fake" this is pretty much meaningless.

        • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

          We can only hope the contrast with non-disputed stories is enough to have an effect.

        • I can easily see the tag "Disputed by Politifact" [twitter.com] becoming a source of pride for certain posters. Politifact is already maligned by many people (fairly or not, I don't know), and it would fit easily into people's biases, eg: "if Politifact doesn't like it, then it must be true."
        • There is so much fake news today that people don't know what to believe. Alternative sources can at least get people who want to look a different source for facts, or often a more complete set of facts. Flagging "disputed" from a biased perspective does not help anyone return a full set of facts.

          It's really funny how the anti-Trump people bash Fox, yet ignore their own team (not really, it's quite common). FSN is often just as left leaning as CNN or MSNBC depending on the time of day and show running.

          The

          • There is so much fake news today that people don't know what to believe. Alternative sources can at least get people who want to look a different source for facts, or often a more complete set of facts. Flagging "disputed" from a biased perspective does not help anyone return a full set of facts.

            It's really funny how the anti-Trump people bash Fox, yet ignore their own team (not really, it's quite common). FSN is often just as left leaning as CNN or MSNBC depending on the time of day and show running.

            The big problem in the US today is that there are simply no reliable sources of news. Just as rare, are reasonable opinions that argue with a full set of facts.

            The problem with both Fox and CNN isn't that they don't present the facts, they do. However, they then spin those same facts during their gossip sessions with "analysts". They also tend to pick out which news stories to present. If they spent less time gossiping with analysts they would have much more time to present all news stories, not just a selection of them. The problem with this is that they found that they get better ratings through talking politics than anything else.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        > Look at how many people on Slashdot fell for pizzagate.

        What do you mean 'fell for'? Very few people ever believed there were kids under the pizza parlor. Lots of people thought that Podesta and Alefantis had super creepy taste in "art" (do you have "art" of naked, bound teenagers lying around?) and thought that maybe there would be enough lying around in public for an actual police investigation.

        And not many people have ever lost "pizza related handkercheifs" or wondered whether they played dominoes

    • "Being "a signatory" to something doesn't mean squat. "

      John Hancock would like a word with you.

      • by ScentCone ( 795499 ) on Saturday March 04, 2017 @05:12PM (#53977091)

        "Being "a signatory" to something doesn't mean squat. "

        John Hancock would like a word with you.

        John Hancock was then willing to take up arms and put his life on the line to back up the liberty proclaimed in the document he risked everything by signing. Do you REALLY think you're making some sort of valid point by comparing that to a Facebook employee sitting in a cubicle clicking "disputed" when something runs against the narratives they're paid to favor?

  • by Doctor Morbius ( 1183601 ) on Saturday March 04, 2017 @04:05PM (#53976823)
    There are nuts everywhere that dispute evolution, heliocentrism, The Big bang theory, you name it. What a stupid classification. FB is just trying to have it both ways and not piss off the nut jobs.
  • I find it odd that Facebook is giving people the ability to vote on the trust worthiness of the news. This will give the public a way to basically rate the mainstream media on a per article basis and as we all know most people don't trust the media. This is going to terribly blow back on all of their faces and make the MSM look even worse.

    What a time to be alive!

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Anyone else seeing shades of deliberate misinformation here? This is like "teaching the controversy" all over. The side that's blatantly lying just has "an opinion equally worth our time", is that it? Anytime El-Presidente Drumpf lies through his teeth, it's merely "some people may dispute this story"?

    *FACTS*. AREN'T. OPINIONS.

    This is physically revolting. If they're going to pull this crap, Facebook has no legitimate excuse for its continued existence. Burn their HQ to the ground; nothing of value will be

    • Welcome to the post-factual era. It's gonna be awesome!

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?... [youtube.com]

      • Welcome to the post-factual era. It's gonna be awesome!

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?... [youtube.com]

        Both Democrats and Republicans selectively use facts to support their views. Both sides are fuckwits.

        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by Hognoxious ( 631665 )

          Newt: The moon is made of cheese.
          Woman: My ass it is.
          Newt: But people believe it's made of cheese.
          Woman: Astronauts have been there, it's all rock & dust.
          Newt: Well you liberals can rely on statistics, which are theoretically right, but I'm with the humans on this.

          That is *not* selective use of facts. It would need at least one fact to qualify as that.
           

    • They should have just labeled this whole effort the "Ministry of News Accuracy" or to hit this fucking nail exactly on the head, the "Ministry of Truth".

  • Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

  • by ThatsNotPudding ( 1045640 ) on Saturday March 04, 2017 @04:20PM (#53976901)
    Total race-baiting, dog-whistle propaganda is labeled 'Disputed'?

    Cowardly.
    • Living language (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Okian Warrior ( 537106 ) on Saturday March 04, 2017 @06:44PM (#53977393) Homepage Journal

      Total race-baiting, dog-whistle propaganda is labeled 'Disputed'?

      Cowardly.

      English has always been a "living" language: new words come into being, old words suffer from disuse, and meanings change. The syntax and grammer evolves and changes with the times.

      We're seeing this right with many of the words in common usage in the media. "Racist", "sexist", "islamaphobe" and a host of other terms are losing their dictionary meaning.

      I'm seeing lots of people on gab.ai [slashdot.org] who are completely blase' about being called racist. Someone will say "that's racist" or "you're a racist", and people are like "yeah, I'm racist. Whatever". I find it astonishing how quickly this has happened. Not 1 year ago the term "racist" meant that you believed a particular race was inferior. Nowadays you are a racist for having a particular body posture - even when you *don't* think some race is inferior.

      This is similar to how past words had a stronger meaning. Terms like "you're a jerk" (person who masterbates a lot) and "you suck" (you perform fellatio) have lost a lot of their power and meaning. The phrase "St Paul’s Cathedral Is Amusing, Awful, and Artificial" was once taken as high praise.

      So the words "disputed" and "fake" will be taking on new meaning, and in a year or two will come to have colloquial definitions that match their usage, which is not the usage we assign to them right now. "Disputed" will probably come to mean "politically charged", and "fake" will come to mean "from non-mainstream sources" without any of today's connotations of meaning.

      It's just the living language, undergoing change.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Yeah it's nothing to worry about, just a new way to speak! Let's call it... newspeak?

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by quantaman ( 517394 )

        I'm seeing lots of people on gab.ai [slashdot.org] who are completely blase' about being called racist.

        Because racism is being made more socially acceptable in certain subgroups, the election of a man who is extremely reluctant to criticize actual racists (the KKK, anti-Semites, etc), and who nominated an attorney general who was rejected as a judge for racist statements, is a big reason.

        Not 1 year ago the term "racist" meant that you believed a particular race was inferior. Nowadays you are a racist for having a particular body posture - even when you *don't* think some race is inferior.

        I'm not sure what you mean about the body posture, but I think "racist" still means that you believe a race is inferior. I think a big difference in the past few years is social media. It used to be people would make racist

        • Because racism is being made more socially acceptable in certain subgroups

          This is true, but only because of what that poster was saying: people are saying "yeah, I guess I'm racist now. Whatever" and thus the taboo is weakened in "certain subgroups", and it's due primarily to the broad over-application of the term. I've termed this phenomenon the ongoing catastrophic failure of Operation Conflation: Progressives trying to fight back against a rise in visible racism by inflating the definition of the term is having the opposite effect as intended by weakening the taboo against re

        • the election of a man who is extremely reluctant to criticize actual racists (the KKK, anti-Semites, etc)

          Fake news got you down, learn the real news!

          http://www.cnn.com/2016/03/03/... [cnn.com]

          Trump nearly immediately denounced David Duke. The only reason it was nearly, and not just immediately is because he didn't even realize who was being spoken about. The environment was apparently noisy and he didn't hear what the interviewer asked. So, no Trump didn't fail to criticize anyone.

          • the election of a man who is extremely reluctant to criticize actual racists (the KKK, anti-Semites, etc)

            Fake news got you down, learn the real news!

            a) Stop abusing the term "fake news" to discredit mainstream media stories you disagree with.

            b) Not only was I completely aware of the stuff you're referencing, I was actually talking about it.

            http://www.cnn.com/2016/03/03/... [cnn.com]

            Trump nearly immediately denounced David Duke. The only reason it was nearly, and not just immediately is because he didn't even realize who was being spoken about. The environment was apparently noisy and he didn't hear what the interviewer asked. So, no Trump didn't fail to criticize anyone.

            It strains credibility to claim that Trump didn't heard the original question clearly because he actually said the name "David Duke" in his answer. But, even if he were somehow confused about the question on Sunday it still took him till Thursday to disavow Duke, and when he did it was a very dismissive denial, far le

      • Nowadays you are a racist for having a particular body posture - even when you *don't* think some race is inferior.

        Please tell me you aren't talking about the Sieg Heil body posture.

      • "English has always been a "living" language: new words come into being, old words suffer from disuse, and meanings change. The syntax and grammer evolves and changes with the times."

        Spelling too!

        (Come on, fess up - you're a master baiter, arencha?
  • A fair system (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Kohath ( 38547 ) on Saturday March 04, 2017 @04:23PM (#53976921)

    All it would take for a fair system is for Facebook to let news viewers vote Real/Misleading/Unknown and show the percentages underneath like "30% real/60% misleading/10% unknown". You see a large percentage of Misleading, you can double check the story.

    Why would Facebook choose to hire a group of "fact checkers" instead? Unless they wanted "fact checking" to be biased is a particular way...

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      That just leads to the problem of poll-flooding.

      • by Kohath ( 38547 )

        I don't understand how that's an important "problem". So what if some people say a story is misleading when it's actually not? You check another source and verify the story is real.

  • Will always be marked as disputed then
  • A story will be marked as disputed if fact-checkers find the story to be fake.

    Remember when fact-checking was, like, a basic part of writing news stories as a professional journalist? Nice to see Facebook picking up the slack for something "news organizations" don't think is really necessary anymore (because they don't want to pay for the time/resources to do it).

  • You'll just end up ADDING credibility to false stories when you say it's "disputed". Disputed can be used for things like "dark matter" where there is some evidence one can point to, but nothing concrete can be derived from it.

    Fake news is usually based on pure conjecture and hyperbole, in a very fuzzy math / connect the dots kind of thinking. People who believe fake news WANT to believe it and will use ANY wiggle room as validation.

  • I can see at least some people saying "See, it's not 'Disputed' on FB, it must be true!"

    Or maybe almost everything will be "disputed"

  • Is there an appellate procedure if you produce a news that is wrongly flagged as "disputed"?
  • by CaptainDork ( 3678879 ) on Saturday March 04, 2017 @11:00PM (#53978307)

    The problem is the fucking bubble, Facebook, wherein people log in and stay.

    Facebook is not a goddam news site.

    it's social media where relatives and friends post inane shit.

    News is at news sites.

  • How do you actually get news on facebook?
    I only get posts of friends, their timelines etc. and: advertisements. I never saw any news on my Facebook visits. Or do people consider "advertisements" as "news"? But perhaps I once checked a box: "no news" or something, no idea.

  • by sethstorm ( 512897 ) on Sunday March 05, 2017 @12:20AM (#53978543) Homepage

    This is just another way to cover for their bias, especially when they're as selective on policy enforcement as Twitter.

    I guess the new bar of "making it" will be having your story 'disputed' by Facebook's favorites.

  • How amusing that someone from Gizmodo talks about "fake news" when they are quite good at writing fake news themselves. That site is a flaming pile of dog shit.

  • Two news items bemoaning the lack of internet gatekeepers...

    1) http://www.breitbart.com/big-j... [breitbart.com]

    > Three years before Matt Drudge changed the world and how news would be
    > consumed, President Bill Clinton's White House feared that the Internet was allowing
    > average citizens, especially conservatives, to bypass legacy gatekeepers and
    > access information that had previously been denied to them by the mainstream press.

    2) http://www.drudgereportarchive... [drudgereportarchives.com]

    > Clinton was asked whether she favored curb

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