Reporters Without Borders (RSF) is concerned about Facebook’s announcement on 19 January that it wants its users to help determine the reliability of the news and information it provides via its News Feed. RSF fears this could be counter-productive and could just fuel the phenomenon of disinformation.
A week after announcing that the News Feed will henceforth show more content from friends and family, Facebook owner and co-founder Mark Zuckerberg has continued to play at sorcerer’s apprentice. His latest pet scheme, asking his users to decide whether journalistic content can be trusted, is supposed to combat “sensationalism, misinformation and polarization” – in other words, fake news.
Under the proposed method – to be tested in the United States before being rolled out worldwide – Facebook plans to poll a sample of its users, firstly asking them whether they know individual media outlets, then asking them to score the outlets they know for trustworthiness. At the end of the polling process, media outlets that have received the highest combined score will be given more visibility in the News Feed.