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Facebook is shrinking fake news posts in the News Feed

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Content deemed to be inaccurate will show up on mobile as a headline and image in one small row

Photo by Michele Doying / The Verge

Facebook is making fake news posts in the News Feed harder to see by shrinking the size of the links to content that has been verified by third-party fact-checkers as inaccurate, according to a report by TechCrunch. “We reduce the visual prominence of feed stories that are fact-checked false,” a Facebook spokesperson confirmed to the news site.

According to screenshots shared by TechCrunch, content deemed to be inaccurate show up on mobile as a headline and image in one small row, while accurate news links feature a large picture and are considerably more noticeable.

Image: Josh Constine / TechCrunch

Facebook detailed the new strategy to combat misleading information at the Fighting Abuse @Scale conference in San Francisco, where the director of News Feed integrity Michael McNally and data scientist Lauren Bose spoke. Bose and McNally spoke about Facebook’s ecosystem approach to tackling fake news, including removing false accounts and assets like clusters of fraudulently created Pages, banning ads on malicious pages, and limiting the distribution of false posts.

Facebook will also use AI combined with flagged user reports to moderate content. It will do so by prioritizing articles for fact-checking by using falsehood prediction scores generated through machine learning. “We use machine learning to help predict things that might be more likely to be false news, to help prioritize material we send to fact-checkers (given the large volume of potential material),” a Facebook spokesperson told TechCrunch. But, moderation will always be a problem as we’ve pointed out before — especially on a huge platform where posts are constant. In December, Facebook announced it would no longer use Disputed Flags to identify false news and would instead use its Related Articles instead.