Facebook Offers Users More Info On Publishers

Still on the defensive over fake news, Facebook is working to burnish its civic reputation with more measures intended to help users distinguish between trustworthy content and more dubious fare.

In the latest such move, the world’s largest social network revealed plans to begin offering users more information about the sources of news in its News Feed, making it easier for users to find reputable publishers. 

Facebook will make the information available via a small new button, marked “i,” which will appear on article links in the News Feed. Users who click on the button will pull up a box with information about the publisher behind the article.

In addition to an article’s provenance, the feature will also tell readers how the content is being shared, as well as provide suggestions of related articles and point users to the publisher’s Facebook page.

In an interesting twist, Facebook is calling on Wikipedia for much of the background content about publishers. The information box will display the first lines of the Wikipedia article about the publisher, along with a link to the full entry.



Presumably, in cases where a Wikipedia article doesn’t exist, this absence will encourage caution among readers. This assumes that users will be attentive to the feature in the first place.

At the same time, showing other Related Articles about the same subject could provide context or different perspectives.

This is the latest in a series of moves by Facebook to suppress fake news on the social network, as well as placate publishing partners. In August, it announced it would begin including publisher logos next to articles in its Trending and Search features, in order to allow users to more easily recognize reputable news sources.

The social network is also forbidding advertisers from rewriting or editing news article headlines, blurbs and descriptions when they share them on the social network.

Separately, arch-rival Google is working to bolster its relationships with publishers, too.

According to multiple press reports, Google is borrowing a page from Facebook. The search giant is paying publishers to produce content for its “Stamp” project, a new multimedia format intended to compete with Snap’s Discover and Instagram’s Stories, using Google’s fast-loading AMP pages.

Google is said to be working on Stamp with various publisher partners, including Time Inc., Hearst, Conde Nast, CNN, The Washington Post and Vox Media.

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