Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) is testing a new ‘Satire’ tag to help users clearly tell the difference between a genuine news headline and the fake or satirical news stories in their News Feed. Many satirical publications such as The Onion usually come up with almost believable headlines. The headline “Tips for Being an Unarmed Black Man” comes across as genuine to users who don’t apply common sense.
How does Facebook’s satire tag work?
The social networking giant confirmed to ARS Technica that it was testing the ‘Satire’ tag to avoid users taking such articles literally. However, the auto-tagging is valid only for “related” headlines. Here’s how it works. You see a link to an article from The Onion in your News Feed, and check it out. Once you click on the link, read the article and come back to your News Feed, you’ll notice that Facebook has displayed three “related articles” right below the link you clicked on. These related articles will have the disclaimer [Satire] tag as shown in the image below.
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The tagging is still in the testing stage, and somewhat inconsistent at this point. Perhaps that’s why another parody site ClickHole escapes the satire auto-tagging. The social networking giant told ARS Technica that it had been testing the feature for about a month. Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) said it had received feedback that users wanted a clearer way to distinguish satirical articles.
Facebook wants to improve user experience
It’s a bit strange that the tag appears only after you have returned to your News Feed. Only Facebook’s algorithms know best. Anyway, users will find the tags helpful for sites that aren’t as popular as The Onion. Last year, a satirical website The Daily Current posted a piece on Sarah Palin joining Al-Jazeera as a host. A Washington Post journalist thought it was real, and picked it up. The internationally reputed newspaper was forced to apologize and post a correction.
It’s still unclear whether the satire tags will become a permanent fixture or Facebook will discontinue them.
Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) shares inched up 0.73% to $74.17 in pre-market trading Monday.