Facebook fake news fail


By Annelise Crilly

Facebook has been accused of becoming a little too trigger-happy with their newly introduced fact-checking software. The social media giant has come under fire for flagging content which is clearly satire.

A post by satirical news site, The Betoota Advocate has been labelled by Facebook as spreading fake news about China and the coronavirus.

The billion-dollar company notified users that they had liked a post which they say contains misinformation.

Communication strategist and social media expert, Mel Kettle says it’s hard to know who should be responsible for ensuring fake news isn’t broadcast throughout the internet but says better censorship measures are needed.

“If you’re going to have bots, or  fact-checking measures in place, or tools to ensuring  the code of conduct isn’t breached, then you’re going to need to invest in some sort of compliance that’s above and beyond just an automated system through a bot.”

Ms Kettle, author of “The Social Association”, says social media poses new challenges in verifying information which older formats of news have never faced.

“With traditional media, the media outlets have far greater control over what gets published because they hire the journalists and they have an editorial process, and it’s not a public system.”

Ms Kettle says human intervention is a necessary step in the filtration process to help avoid mix-ups such as this one.

“Don’t just rely on AI, when things get flagged, have a process in place where a real person can check,” she said.

Facebook’s guide to identifying fake news encourages users to consider whether a story may have been a joke, as it can be hard to distinguish parody.

But it seems, the social media giant may have to share this advice with their third-party fact-checkers.

Listen to Annelise Crilly’s radio report here.


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