Looks like Facebook is turning that top space in your News Feed into something a little more useful than “It’s spring time!” or “Have a nice day!” In a blog post, the company said it will be adding alert to an “educational tool” when users log onto the service, which will provide tips for spotting fake news. Clicking this leads you to a Help Center page that lays out things to think about when considering whether what you’re reading is truthful.
The tips range from vague advice like “think critically” and “be skeptical,” to more actionable items such as “look closely at the URL” and “check the author’s sources.” None of the tips advised against getting your daily source of news from old high school friends who appear to only exist on social networks.
The new feature appears to be a nice gesture, but also relies heavily on users to do their own due diligence. Unless the link to the guide is sitting next to an article that could be considered suspicious, I’m not sure how many users who weren’t already aware to be skeptical will think to remember those tips.
For its part, Facebook does appear to be actively combating the spread of fake news on its platform. It has partnered with third-party fact-checkers in France and Germany, among other locations, to filter misleading content, and said it would be open to paying fact-checkers. It also recently launched the option for users to flag fake news to help algorithms down-rank it from the News Feed, but again, this demands help from the users themselves.
The new fake news guide is rolling out to users in 14 countries, though Facebook did not specifically name which. The feature appears to be part of a PSA series the company said it would be doing in partnership with the News Literacy Project.