Facebook tries to cut down on hoaxes showing up in news feeds

Facebook took steps Tuesday to cut down on the number of hoaxes appearing in users' news feeds.
(Paul Sakuma / Associated Press)

Facebook introduced an update on Tuesday that reduces the distribution of posts that are reported as hoaxes.

The update was made after users told the social network that they want to see fewer hoaxes in their news feeds, including scams offering people prizes for clicking on links and misleading news stories.

“People often share these hoaxes and later decide to delete their original posts after they realize they’ve been tricked,” said Facebook software engineer Erich Owens and research scientist Udi Weinsberg in a blog post. “In fact, our testing found people are two times more likely to delete these types of posts after receiving such a comment from a friend.”

To reduce the likelihood of a hoax post appearing in people’s news feeds, people can now report posts as false, similar to how spam is reported. Posts that are flagged as false will get reduced distribution in the news feeds, and those flagged by lots of people will also be annotated with a message warning people that the stories might be false.


Owens and Weinsberg said satirical content should not be affected by the update because “people tend to not report satirical content intended to be humorous, or content that is clearly labeled as satire.”

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