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Facebook lowers the flags

"Putting a strong image, like a red flag, next to an article may actually entrench deeply held beliefs", Facebook said in a Wednesday blog post, citing academic research. Facebook first introduced the tool in December 2013 to boost website traffic-when a user finishes reading a story, a list of articles on the same topic is shown at the bottom of the page.

The company's own research, conducted over the a year ago, reached similar conclusions.

The tech company admitted that a feature that flags that the veracity of an article is disputed by a group of fact checkers "buried critical information" and "could sometimes backfire" as well as it being labour intensive. "For example, they might use "false, ' 'partly false, ' 'unproven, ' and 'true.' We only applied Disputed flags to 'false" ratings because it was a strong visual signal", wrote Smith, Jackson and Raj.

As a result, Facebook is dropping the red icon approach and instead focusing on another tactic: placing the real news under the fake. In August, we began surfacing fact-checked articles in this space as well.

The company has found this help users understand the context around a piece of news, including hoaxes, without triggering a negative reaction.

Facebook is making some modifications to how it combats fake news for its users. A born-and-raised Angeleno who graduated from New York University, he now lives in Los Angeles.He has broken stories on Snapchat's ad plans, Hulu founding CEO Jason Kilar's attempt to take on YouTube and the assemblage of Amazon's ad-tech stack; analyzed YouTube's programming strategy, Facebook's ad-tech ambitions and ad blocking's rise; and documented digital video's biggest annual event VidCon, BuzzFeed's branded video production process and Snapchat Discover's ad load six months after launch.

The company said it traveled around the world over the past year talking to people about misinformation they encountered on the social media site. It commonly takes over three days for one of its fact-checking partners to go over a news story, Facebook said.

"Just because something is marked as "false" or "disputed" doesn't necessarily mean we will be able to change someone's opinion about its accuracy", they said.

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