Late last year, puppy lovers everywhere shed unnecessary tears on account of the supposed death of Dog Whisperer Cesar Millan. This tragic news story was widely circulated via Facebook, until Millan stepped in and released an official statement via his Facebook page that he was still alive and well.
This faux news story was by no means an exception, with countless similar celebrity deaths and other outrageous stories being shared through the channel. However, it seems that Facebook wants to bring an end to the falsehood.
A report on Wired says that the social media juggernaut will soon release a new feature that enables users to flag hoax articles.
In a blog posted to its newsroom, Facebook explains that this move follows on from complaints from users:
"The goal of News Feed is to catch up with your friends and find the things that matter to you. We’re always looking to people on Facebook to tell us how we can improve this experience. We’ve heard from people that they want to see fewer stories that are hoaxes, or misleading news. Today’s update to News Feed reduces the distribution of posts that people have reported as hoaxes and adds an annotation to posts that have received many of these types of reports to warn others on Facebook. We are not removing stories people report as false and we are not reviewing content and making a determination on its accuracy."
According to Wired, Facebook has taken this step to combat the clickbait mills that fabricate stories with the sole goal of attracting ad dollars. And in much the same way that Google continues to update its algorithms in the fight against content farms and sneaky webmasters that try to trick the system, so too is Facebook now taking steps to ensure that its interface keeps users happy.