Facebook to tag satirical articles to stop users falling for the Onion's jokes
Social network claims that change is in response to reader feedback
Sunday 17 August 2014
Facebook is testing a new feature intended to stop users accidentally falling victim to satirical websites like the Onion, hoping that tagging articles could stop users accidentally believing joke stories.
If any of the users that are selected for the trial click through to a piece from the Onion and then go back to Facebook, the related stories that show beneath the link when users return will then feature a tag marking it out as satire.
"We are running a small test which shows the text '[Satire]' in front of links to satirical articles in the related articles unit in News Feed,” a Facebook spokesperson told Ars Technica. “This is because we received feedback that people wanted a clearer way to distinguish satirical articles from others in these units."
Facebook said that the test had been happening for over a month and did not say whether the tag would be used on content from different websites, according to the statement.
Other sites, like the Onion’s BuzzFeed parody Clickhole, do not pick up the tag. The New Yorker’s Borowitz Report is also often mistaken for real news.
Stories from The Onion can appear real to many Facebook users, leading to the kinds of responses collected by Literally Unbelievable, a blog of comments outraged by the site’s stories. (Recent controversies include responses to the Onion’s story about a 9,600 mile long rollercoaster, including users wondering about how to take toilet breaks.)
Even news outlets have occasionally fallen victim to the Onion’s articles, as when ScienceNews last month mistakenly discussed an article written by the website.
Facebook received criticism in June when it revealed that it had been manipulating some users’ news feeds to make them happy or sad, and some commentators speculated that the website may still be feeling the need to instil confidence in the timeline.
Life & Style blogs
McDonald’s launches clothing line using Big Mac prints
Facebook to test 747-sized drones that will beam broadband to the entire world
The distress of some Zayn Malik fans is real, and they need support, say experts
Chair-bound workers 'should move around every hour to reduce physical and mental health risks'
American Apparel gets another ad banned by advertising watchdog for sexualising children
Nigel Farage brands LGBT activists 'filth' and 'scum' and accuses them of scaring away his children after they invade his local pub
Ukip supporters are 55 or older, white and socially conservative, finds British Social Attitudes Report
JK Rowling responds to fan tweeting she 'can't see' Dumbledore being gay
Russia threatens Denmark with nuclear weapons if it tries to join Nato defence shield
Jeremy Clarkson sacked live: Alan Yentob 'wouldn't rule out' ex Top Gear host's BBC return
Germanwings plane crash live: Andreas Guenter Lubitz intentionally crashed flight 9525 into the Alps in act of mass murder and suicide – latest
- 1 Germanwings crash: Police make 'significant discovery' at home of co-pilot Andreas Lubitz
- 2 Germanwings captain Patrick Sondenheimer tried to break into locked cockpit door 'with an axe' as plane was descending
- 3 Zayn Malik already working on solo material, just days after quitting One Direction
- 4 The West has it totally wrong on Lee Kuan Yew
- 5 #FreeTheNipple: Women in Iceland bare breasts in solidarity with trolled student
iJobs Gadgets & Tech
£30000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Our client is looking to find a...
£21000 - £23600 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An exciting opportunity to join...
£22000 - £28000 per annum: Ashdown Group: This is a large multi-site operation...
£50000 - £65000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Due to continued business growt...