"Fake news" has been the big issue on social media in the last six months, and it doesn't seem likely to go away. After years of claiming it's not a news organisation, Facebook has been paying more attention recently to its role as a trusted news source for many of its 1.7 billion users.
Late last year the network launched a "fake news report" feature for US users and reported in January that the feature had also launched in Germany. Now it's here for (at least some) New Zealand users.
So how does it work?
Fundamentally, it's just an extension of the reporting tools already available on the site. Every story in the news feed has a small grey arrow top right, that brings up a menu including "Report post." Click this and you'll see another menu including a checkbox "I think it shouldn't be on Facebook."
Click on this and you'll see the menu in the picture above, now including "Fake News"
In the US and Germany, clicking this submits the story to a team of human fact checkers who assess whether or not the story is genuine. If they assess it, Mythbusters style, to be fake, it will still appear on Facebook, but lower in the news feed. According to Wired Magazine:
"Facebook will the append the questionable content with a notice that reads “Disputed by 3rd Party Fact-Checkers,” with an option to read more about why that specific post was flagged. If users try to share the post anyway, they’ll be met with an interstitial that again reminds them that third-party fact checkers dismissed it, and a further note that reads “Before you share this story, you might want to know that independent fact-checkers disputed its accuracy.”
It's not clear who the third party fact checkers are in New Zealand (say hi if it's you!) and the system will of course depend on their judgement and users knowing about it. You can do your part, of course, by sharing this story.
(Just make sure you check that it isn't fake...)
Update: Facebook's NZ PR people advise that the "Fake News" feature we're seeing here is not the same as the identically named feature available in the US... if you keep clicking through there are no options for submitting a story for fact checking. You can however report it to the news site that posted it – and that's something!