To cut down on stale and outdated information, Facebook plans to begin warning users who attempt to share news articles that are more than 90 days old.
John Hegeman, vice president, feed and stories, Facebook, said the move was inspired by consumer demand for more relevant content, combined with publishers’ fears over out-of-date stories misinforming readers.
“Over the past several months, our internal research found the timeliness of an article is an important piece of context that helps people decide what to read, trust and share,” Hegeman stated.
“News publishers in particular have expressed concerns about older stories being shared on social media as current news, which can misconstrue the state of current events,” he added.
Per the change, users can expect to begin encountering notification screens on their phones and computers after clicking the share button on articles older than 90 days. They will still have the option of sharing the articles if they choose.
For Facebook, the notification screens represent a broader effort to create a healthier content ecosystem.
In 2018, for example, the social giant added a context button, which provides information about the sources of articles that users encounter in their News Feeds.
The ultimate goal is to “ensure people have the context they need to make informed decisions about what to share on Facebook,” Hegeman said.
Over the next few months, Facebook plans to begin testing other uses of notification screens.
For posts with links mentioning COVID-19, for instance, Hegeman said his team is exploring the use of a similar notification screen that would provide information about the source of the link, while directing users to more authoritative health information resources.
The tests come amid a growing advertiser boycott over Facebook’s unwillingness to take a harder line on messages of hate, and those shared by President Trump in particular.
By contrast, Twitter recently began attaching warning labels to those of Trump’s tweets that are “potentially misleading,” and “glorify violence.”
To promote the sharing of more accurate information, Twitter also began prompting some users to read articles before sharing them with followers. In response, some people took offense that Twitter suggested they were not sufficiently aware of the content they share.