Unless you were living under a rock, you know that throughout this entire election cycle, Facebook users were bombarded with a slew of unsourced, sensationalized, and outright fabricated political articles intended to mislead and provoke readers. It’s become a major problem for Facebook users everywhere, but the social network is taking the problem very seriously. Mark Zuckerberg just announced that Facebook is mailing air horns to all of its users and instructing them to blast them whenever they encounter deliberately misleading news stories.
Looks like Facebook is finally fighting back against misinformation!
Baseless news stories perpetrated by extremist sites might have had a real impact on the 2016 presidential election, and now Facebook is addressing this problem head on. Here’s how it works: Whenever you encounter a piece of content in your newsfeed that has been fabricated in order to sway public opinion, you can simply let out a long, loud blast on your Facebook-branded air horn, regardless of whether or not anyone is nearby. Once you’ve blown the air horn, you can continue browsing your feed, knowing you’ve done your part.
Take that, fraudulent news!
According to Facebook, the air horn is not only very loud, but it also allows people to customize their response to different types of misleading news articles. Users can give a short toot on their air horn when the article appears misleading, but they’re not sure, or they can give it one big, loud honk when the information in the article is clearly intended to deceive and manipulate.
“At Facebook, we take the intentional deception of our users very seriously, and we want people to be able to blow a very loud air horn whenever they encounter such content,” Zuckerberg wrote in a post to Facebook users earlier today. “Just give your air horn a toot or a honk when you see fake news. I will also pledge right now that if I am walking past your house and I hear an air horn go off, I will come into your house and use your computer to investigate the article and, if need be, remove it from Facebook for good.”
Incredible. The spread of false and manipulative news stories will certainly be a problem for a long time, but it’s encouraging to know that Facebook is giving its users the tools to help combat the problem. It’s definitely a step in the right direction!