Sharing old news creates misinformation. Here’s how Facebook tries to fix it

To further combat inaccurate news pieces and articles, Facebook is introducing a new feature that will let you know when news articles they are about to share are more than 90 days old. The platform mentions in their blog that they are “starting to globally roll out” the feature.

I tried testing it out myself to see if Facebook would let me know if the article that I wanted to share was older than 90 days. I looked for year old posts on both my desktop web browser and on the Facebook app on my phone.

However, it doesn’t look like it’s currently available for me yet, but it may already be available for you. Here’s how to use the feature:

  • What is shared on your Facebook timeline would usually already have a date of when the posts are shared on the timeline. But there might not be a way for you to check on when the article itself was first posted.
  • Click ‘Share’. If you have the feature, and if the article is more and 90-days-old, you’ll get a notification saying how old the article is.
  • If you’re okay with how old the article is, you can press ‘Continue’
  • If you’re not okay with it, you can always press ‘Go Back’

“Over the past several months, our internal research found that the timeliness of an article is an important piece of context that helps people decide what to read, trust and share. 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. Some news publishers have already taken steps to address this on their own websites by prominently labelling older articles to prevent outdated news from being used in misleading ways,” wrote Facebook.

The initiative of Facebook’s feature most likely derived from potentially inaccurate and harmful information shared about the COVID-19 virus during the pandemic. The platform mentions that over the next few months, they will also test other uses of notification screens—especially for links mentioning the virus.

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Dzamira Dzafri