Tired of responding to Facebook status updates with a Snopes link? The social network feels your pain. Today, it's announced plans to cut down on the number of misleading, deceitful, and outright hoax stories that appear in News Feed. It's also targeting scams and fraudulent contests. Users have had the ability to flag inaccurate News Feed posts for some time, and now Facebook says it'll be looking at that data to spot links, photos, videos, and status updates with a high number of reports claiming that the featured content is bogus. As a fallback, News Feed will "also take into account when many people choose to delete posts" — since that's also a pretty good indication of annoyance factor.
"This means a post with a link to an article that many people have reported as a hoax or chosen to delete will get reduced distribution in News Feed," the company wrote in a blog post. Do legitimate news outlets and satirical publications have cause for concern? According to Facebook, The Onion should be just fine. "We’ve found from testing that people tend not to report satirical content intended to be humorous, or content that is clearly labeled as satire. This type of content should not be affected by this update."
An example of the message users will see above misleading News Feed posts
Facebook insists that the "vast majority" of publishers (and their pages) won't be affected by the new hoax-busting measures. But for those sites intentionally trying to trick Facebook's massive audience for clicks, this is basically the reckoning, and they can expect to "see their distribution decrease." Even if a nonsense story slips into your feed, Facebook will add a warning message for content that's been reported or deleted in significant volume. Could the system potentially be abused? Probably. Again, Facebook isn't deciding which stories are inaccurate; that duty falls on users. But it might also mean we've finally seen the last of "Facebook is going to start charging!" posts.