Facebook announced Thursday that it would introduce a notification screen warning users if they try to share content that’s more than 90 days old. They’ll be given the choice to “go back” or to click through if they’d still like to share the story knowing that it isn’t fresh.
Facebook acknowledged that old stories shared out of their original context play a role in spreading misinformation. The social media company said “news publishers in particular” have expressed concern about old stories being recirculated as though they’re breaking news.
“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,” Facebook Vice President of Feed and Stories John Hegeman wrote on the company’s blog.
The notification screen is an outgrowth of other kinds of notifications the company has experimented with recently. Last year, Instagram introduced a pop-up notification to discourage its users from sharing offensive or abusive comments with a similar set of options, allowing them to click through or go back. The company said that its initial results with the experiment showed promise in shaping users toward better behavior.
In a blog post announcing the new feature, Facebook said that it is now considering other kinds of notification screens to reduce misinformation, including pop-ups for posts about COVID-19 that would provide context about source links and steer users toward public health resources.
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