Anyone who has participated in any kind of social media over the past several years can tell you that the number of political and news-related items has absolutely exploded across all platforms.
And that’s fine and good until it becomes a problem for the companies that host such content.
Ever since the alleged scourge of “fake news” started hitting the social airwaves in earnest in 2015 many people have wondered what services like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram can do to reel it back. Some pieces of “fake news” are absolutely harmless while others spread harmful or false information. But where to draw the line between satire and malicious behavior is often question most of these platforms face and it is one that Facebook is tackling head on according to a report from PetaPixel.
Outlining a plan to combat “fake news” using artificial intelligence, Facebook is partnering with organizations from around the world in identifying patterns of identifiers that make something “fake news” as opposed to coming from a vetted source. Identifying this content will be done through what PetaPixel says the company calls “signals” or indicators that the content might be fake such as matching up its text to news articles as well as analyzing user reactions to it.
If this all sounds a bit dystopian it is and it makes you wonder what the real end goal is for Facebook and that seems to be keeping the platform a safe space for advertising which means making it friendly to users that aren’t trying to see the latest spin on a school shooting or want to know about how honey cures every disease if only you’d try it.
The fact-checkers Facebook are uniquely skilled in that “Fact-checkers are able to assess the truth or falsity of a photo or video by combining these skills with other journalistic practices, like using research from experts, academics or government agencies.”
Of course, a lot of the misinformation on Facebook as well as Twitter and Instagram is spread via images and it seems like photographs uploaded will received a lot of the company’s focus in determining what is real and what is not.
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