Facebook is rolling out a new feature the social network hopes will reduce the amount of fake news reports being shared and re-shared on users news feeds.
Fake and false news reports became a big story during last year's presidential elections and continues today.
Facebook and websites make it easy to share anything found on sites, blogs and news sources. Many, if not most news websites use a one-click 'share on Facebook' tool where users can easily post anything they see on their news feeds.
Facebook's new 'disputed story' feature is an effort to mark any story as being fake or false when it appears on users' profile.
I spent some time looking at websites that have posted fake or false news stories in recent weeks to see how those links have been shared and how they now appear on Facebook.
A story from the Seattle Tribune that was shared thousands of times in recent weeks reported that President Donald Trump's Android smartphone was the source of White House leaks. The article cited two sources that do not exist. When I clicked the 'share on Facebook' link on the newspaper website I got a warning or alert that the story had been disputed by www.snopes.com and www.Politifact.com.
I wasn't prevented from sharing the story but when it appeared on my profile it included a tag showing any of my friends and followers that what I was sharing had been checked and proven to be false.
Facebook is also relying on users to identify stories that appear in news feeds that are false.
To do this a user will need to click on a downward facing arrow next to the post. It opens a window asking the user what is wrong with the post. You'll have the option to report it as spam, inappropriate or as fake news.
Once a story has been reported as fake the link is shared with staff members at snopes.com and Politifact.
If those fact checkers find it false, the story will get the tag wherever it is shared on Facebook.
Will it work? By design it should reduce the number of times a fake story is shared and should bring attention that the story you're reading is not accurate.
It is sure to be criticized by people who are already suspicious that certain types of stories are being censored. I have not been able to find a way a Facebook user can dispute the findings of the fact checkers.