Facebook users see a new notification screen when sharing COVID-19 links, warning them that the content may be old or inaccurate.
The notification is designed to let users know how current the content is and inform them of the source from which it was published.
Facebook will also direct users to its COVID-19 information center, which has credible information from global health authorities.
In an announcement, the company states:
“We want to make sure people have the context they need to make informed decisions about what to share on Facebook, especially when it comes to COVID-19 content.
So today we're starting to roll out a global notification screen to give users more context on COVID-19 related links if they want to share them. "
The notification screen does not appear when users share links from credible health agencies such as the World Health Organization.
Facebook does not want to slow down the spread of credible information in any way. However, time will tell if this has any impact on the exchange of misinformation.
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Even with this measure, nothing is stopping users from sharing the links they want about COVID-19.
Even though users have more context about the link they are sharing, they can still ultimately share it.
David Gillis of Facebook's design team says the company has had good results so far with informed sharing screens:
We have seen good results on our informed sharing screens and today we are introducing a new treatment for COVID-19 related links.
Before sharing again, you'll see the source and date of the links. We hope this helps people get more context on a time and topic that is rapidly evolving. pic.twitter.com/5fucvdOn20
– David Gillis (@davegillis) August 12, 2020
The informed sharing screen it refers to was introduced in June to warn users about sharing content older than 90 days.
Here is some background information on informed sharing screens.
Informed sharing screens from Facebook
Facebook launched an initiative in June to warn users when they want to share links that are a few months old.
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The old link notification screen is displayed regardless of the source of the content.
Even if the old content is from a trusted source, Facebook will display the warning screen.
According to Facebook's research, keeping an article timely is crucial in deciding what to read, trust, and share.
However, not everyone checks the date of an item before sharing it with others.
This leads to people accidentally sharing old news as current story.
Once shared, others may see the link in their feed and assume it's up to date.
Since it's not uncommon for people to share links without clicking on them, outdated content can spread easily.
Facebook tries to mitigate this with informed sharing screens.
And according to Facebook's design team, it works.
Now Facebook is applying exactly the same measures to COVID-19 links.
It will be interesting to see if Facebook extends this feature to other types of content in the future.
There are certainly other types of content out there that warrant this type of warning.
Many argue that Facebook is not doing enough to stop the spread of inaccurate and potentially harmful content on its platform
Maybe at some point the company can take even stricter measures?
Source: Facebook Newsroom