Facebook recently implemented a labeling system that assesses the reliability of a publication and allows users to consult other related sources of information. However, according to an investigation carried out by the NGO The Markup, the labels meant to flag questionable or false information are not always adequate, which reflects the challenges that the social network faces in controlling the fake news circulating its platform.
To reach this conclusion, the journalists used a tool named Citizen Browser, which tracks a panel of Facebook users in the United States. They were thus able to analyze the Facebook news feed of 2,200 American individuals between December 2020 and January 2021.
Over the study period, the panel members were shown 682 labeled posts on their Facebook news feed. Most of these labels prompted users to consult other resources regarding the U.S. elections. However, the report underlines that these labels appeared alongside publications that contained false information. While Facebook possesses a “fake news” labels, it was only attached to 12 publications. The report points out, for example, that none of President Trump’s publications were labeled as being false, even though some of his statements have been challenged by fact-checking organizations.