Facebook is taking steps to combat the spread of fake news and to create a more-informed user base

In a blog post this week, the social media giant announced that it would no longer allow pages that repeatedly share fake news stories to advertise.

“We’ve found instances of Pages using Facebook ads to build their audiences in order to distribute false news more broadly,” product managers Satwik Shukla and Tessa Lyons, wrote in the blog. “This update will help to reduce the distribution of false news which will keep Pages that spread false news from making money.”

The new policy is a continuation of efforts Facebook started last year, after the social media site faced scrutiny in its role of spreading fake news leading up to the presidential election. In December, Facebook partnered with a third-party fact checker to flag questionable stories shared on the platform. Advertisements that linked to those questionable stories were prohibited.

This new step would build on those efforts, according to the Facebook blog. It would:

  • Disrupt the economic incentives to create false news;
  • Build new products to curb the spread of false news; and
  • Help people make more informed decisions when they encounter false news.

Perhaps most importantly, said Satwik and Lyons, it would remove the financial incentive to share those stories.

This is all good news, considering the prevalence of false narratives being spread across the Internet and the ability of most graphic or web designers to make them look authentic. Facebook must be serious about the process, too, since it has the potential to limit their own revenue.

What does it mean for you, your business and your business page?

It means it will be more important to be as authentic and accurate as possible. While it’s important to interact with your customers through your social media feed, you’ll need to be more careful with the kind of content that you share.

  • Avoid sharing clickbait
  • Double check the content. Does it pass the ‘sniff test?” Usually, stories that sound too outrageous to be true…are too outrageous to be true.
  • Check the source. Many of the sites that post fake or slanted news are easily identifiable.
  • When sharing content, only share personal content, not stories that have been passed along.

All in all, Facebook’s interest in reducing the spread of fake news is admirable and, sadly, necessary. What do you think? Let us know in the comments!