If you depend on Facebook for current news, you’re possibly one of a billion who do. And that’s OK. Accept when the news you reshare is unknowingly outdated. Timeliness of news is imperative in most situations, especially when it comes to information about a current situation—like the COVID-19 pandemic or the racial protests in the US.
Well, Facebook is doing something about that. Actually, they’ve taken steps to improve this in 2018, when it introduced the context button, which provides information about the sources of articles in its News Feed.
Now it’s taking a step further by rolling out a notification screen that will inform people when news articles they are about to share are more than 90 days old.
This is to ensure people have the context they need to make informed decisions about what they share/reshare on Facebook. The notification screen will appear when people click on the share button on articles older than 90 days. Ultimately, it doesn’t stop people from sharing the piece of news, but they can decide to if the article is still relevant.
Facebook said internal research over the past several months has revealed that the timeliness of an article is an important piece of context that “helps people decide what to read, trust, and share.”
News publishers expressed concerns about older stories being circulated on social media as current news, which can misconstrue the state of current events.
Some news publishers have taken steps to address this on their own websites by prominently labelling older articles.
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Over the next few months, Facebook will be testing other uses of notification screens.
For posts with links mentioning COVID-19 for instance, the company is exploring a similar notification screen that provides information about the link and subsequently redirecting users to the COVID-19 Information Centre for authoritative health information.
Now, if they could extend the same to WhatsApp, that would be fantastic. I’d hate to debunk yet another chain message circulated since 2015.
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