Facebook battles fake news with editorial rights

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Facebook is limiting editorial rights for link previews to verified publishers that advertise on its platform (Source: Facebook)
Facebook is limiting editorial rights for link previews to verified publishers that advertise on its platform (Source: Facebook)

Facebook is battling fake news by only offering verified publishers (those that regularly advertise with Facebook) the ability to edit headlines and meta descriptions for their verified links.

In a bid to battle the prevalence of fake news, Facebook has announced a change that will disallow non-publisher Facebook pages from being able to edit or modify the link previews on Facebook.

Now any page not deemed a publisher will be unable to overwrite link metadata (which means the headline and description) within the API or in Page composer.

On the other hand, verified publishers will now be able to customize how their content appears to audiences on Facebook.

Page administrators can now find a new tab in the Page Publishing Tools section that allows for the indication of link ownership.

The initial publisher beneficiaries of this change have thus far been media publishers, pages for news, sports, and entertainment, and other verified publishers with a digital track record of modifying their article links at scale.

To keep verified publishers in check, a spokesperson from Facebook said: "Facebook does not have a bot scouring the network, users have had the ability to report." This is followed by the intervention of 'an independent third-party fact checking organisations [that] will help to better identify and reduce the reach of fake news that people share on our platform. We’ll use the reports from our community, along with other signals, to send stories to these organisations."

This means that Facebook is relying on its users to report false news. But that calls into question how news consumers will be able to tell fake news from real news, and how Facebook will be able to detect news bias in reports stemming from a disagreement with a news piece.

A version of this article was first published by Campaign Asia-Pacific.

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