Thursday, April 26, 2018
Business

Mark Zuckerberg outlines Facebook's ideas to battle fake news

A week after trying to reassure the public that it was "extremely unlikely hoaxes changed the outcome of this election," Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg outlined several ways the company might try to stop the spread of fake news on the platform in the future.

"We've been working on this problem for a long time and we take this responsibility seriously. We've made significant progress, but there is more work to be done," Zuckerberg wrote in a Friday night post on his own Facebook page. He then named seven approaches the company was considering to address the issue, including warning labels on false stories, easier user reporting methods and the integration of third-party verification.

"The problems here are complex, both technically and philosophically," he cautioned, repeating the company's long-standing aversion to becoming the "arbiters of truth" — instead preferring to rely on third parties and users to make those distinctions.

"We need to be careful not to discourage sharing of opinions or mistakenly restricting accurate content," he said.

While none of the listed ideas are particularly specific, Zuckerberg's post does provide more details on the company's thinking about the problem of fake news.

Facebook's concern with fake news predates the 2016 elections. Hoaxes have long plagued the site's algorithms, which incentivize the creation of content that its users would like to share, true or not.

But fake news - and specifically, Facebook's role in spreading it - became a story of wide interest just after the elections, when critics accused the platform of influencing voters by allowing political hoaxes to regularly go viral - particularly those favorable to the now President-elect Donald Trump. Zuckerberg has strongly denied that this was true, saying last week that the idea that Facebook influenced the elections in this way is "pretty crazy," and that fake news "surely had no impact" on the outcome.

Zuckerberg did not contradict this denial on Friday, but his post reflects Facebook's growing acknowledgment that it's going to have to do a lot more about the plague of hoaxes and fake stories on the platform. On Monday, Facebook announced it was going to crack down on fake news sites that use its ad services to profit off hoaxes.

One of the ideas Zuckerberg presented on Friday indicates that the company wants to go further in "disrupting fake news economics," and is considering more policies like the one it just announced, along with stronger "ad farm detection."

Another promises stronger detection of misleading content. "This means better technical systems to detect what people will flag as false before they do it themselves," Zuckerberg wrote.

News Feed can already make some guesses about whether a post is authentic or not based on the user behavior around it. On Friday, Zuckerberg specified that Facebook currently watches for things like "people sharing links to myth-busting sites such as Snopes" to determine whether a post might be misleading or false. Zuckerberg didn't go into specifics about what more Facebook might be looking to do on this front.

Facebook also indicated that it's trying to find ways to rely more on users and third parties to help flag and classify fake stories. Zuckerberg listed "stronger reporting" methods for users, and listening more to "third party verification" services like fact checking sites. Zuckerberg also said Facebook was considering how to use third-party and user reports of fake news as a source for displaying warnings on fake or misleading content.

The site would also improve the quality of articles that appear in "related articles" under news stories that are posted to Facebook. And, Zuckerberg said, Facebook would "continue to work with journalists and others in the news industry" on the issue.

While Facebook has attracted the majority of scrutiny this week, the platform is hardly the only company struggling to address the spread of fake news on the Internet. On Monday, the top Google hit for the search "final election count" was a site falsely reporting that Trump had won the popular vote. Like Facebook, Google has also taken steps this week to try and stop fake news writers from using their ad services to make money.

Comments
Cities turn to private inspectors as construction booms, and problems follow

Cities turn to private inspectors as construction booms, and problems follow

ST. PETERSBURG — With construction booming throughout Florida, private inspectors are increasingly reviewing the work of building contractors. But that has sometimes led to missed code violations and other problems.Now the city of St. Petersburg is r...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Amazon raising price of annual Prime membership to $119

Amazon raising price of annual Prime membership to $119

NEW YORK — Amazon is raising the price of its annual Prime membership fee by 20 percent starting next month. The company said Thursday that Prime members in the U.S. will now pay $119 a year, up from $99, starting May 11 for new members. The new pric...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Almost half of all homes for sale in Tampa Bay are unaffordable for first-time buyers

Almost half of all homes for sale in Tampa Bay are unaffordable for first-time buyers

Times Staff WriterAlmost half of all homes on the market in the Tampa Bay area are unaffordable for many buyers. According to Zillow, 48.7 percent of homes for sale are "high-end --- more than $348,0000 in Tampa Bay -- while just 20.5 percent are "l...
Published: 04/26/18
Outback Steakhouse owner Bloomin’ Brands beats Wall Street forecast in first quarter

Outback Steakhouse owner Bloomin’ Brands beats Wall Street forecast in first quarter

TAMPA — Growing sales at Outback Steakhouse have once again led parent company Bloomin’ Brands to beat Wall Street’s expectations, the latest quarterly report shows.But the Tampa-based restaurant group’s other chains are failing to keep up. Bloomin’ ...
Published: 04/26/18
Focus crossover and Mustang will be only Ford sedans sold in North American dealerships

Focus crossover and Mustang will be only Ford sedans sold in North American dealerships

DEARBORN, Mich. — Ford Motor Co. said Wednesday it will shed most of its North American car lineup as part of broad plan to save money and make the company more competitive in a fast-changing marketplace.The changes include getting rid of all cars in...
Published: 04/26/18
Domino’s lifts curtain on ‘pizza theater’ in Lutz

Domino’s lifts curtain on ‘pizza theater’ in Lutz

LUTZ — Domino’s new ‘pizza theater’ store recently opened in Lutz, just outside of the Ballantrae subdivision. The store features the open-concept pizza theater design which offers viewing of the food preparation process.There is also a comfortable l...
Published: 04/26/18
Engaged couple opens chiropractic practice for all ages on W Hillsborough Ave

Engaged couple opens chiropractic practice for all ages on W Hillsborough Ave

TAMPA — Dr. Kaylee Canalungo and Dr. Kace Groff were attending Palmer College of Chiropractic in different states when a mutual friend introduced them. After graduating and working together at a chiropractic office in New York, they are engaged to be...
Published: 04/26/18

Clean Juice gets 3rd spot in Hyde Park Village

Michelle Piniella forecast about another South Tampa Clean Juice location in March, and now it’s official. The healthy, fresh juice concept has secured a lease with Hyde Park Village.The opening date is to be announced this summer as it is currently ...
Published: 04/26/18
Cuban cuisine transformed at Armature Works

Cuban cuisine transformed at Armature Works

DOWNTOWN — Felicia Lacalle says cuban cooking is in her blood as she traditionally learned from her mother growing up. Since then she has perfected her craft finding ways to recreate classic dishes with a modern twist and now she aims to change the C...
Published: 04/26/18
PolitiFact: False claim circulates about Allegiant Air offering 2 free tickets

PolitiFact: False claim circulates about Allegiant Air offering 2 free tickets

The statement"Allegiant Air is rewarding everyone with 2 free plane tickets to celebrate April Aviation Week!"Bloggers, April 22 in a blog postThe rulingContrary to a false claim on a phony website, Allegiant Air is not offering two free tickets in e...
Updated: 5 hours ago