Facebook Cleans Up the News Feed Once Again

Allison Howen
by Allison Howen 21 Jan, 2015

Facebook is once again cleaning up its News Feed, and this time the social network is taking aim at hoaxes and misleading news stories.


According to an announcement from Facebook, the social network is updating its News Feed to reduce the distribution of posts that people have reported as hoaxes and is also adding an annotation to posts that have received many reports to warn other Facebook members. That said, Facebook is not removing stories reported as false from the News Feed or reviewing content to make a determination on its accuracy.


Facebook notes that hoaxes are a form of News Feed spam that include scams, deliberately false or misleading news stories. Often times people share the hoaxes and then delete their post once they realize they have been tricked.


"These types of posts also tend to receive lots of comments from friends letting people know this is a hoax, and comments containing links to hoax-busting websites," Facebook's announcement states. "In fact, our testing found people are two times more likely to delete these types of posts after receiving such a comment from a friend."


It is important to note that Facebook recently added an option that enables users to report a story they see in the News Feed as false. According to the social network, stories that include scams or hoaxes are reported two and a half times more often than links to other news stories. To reduce the number of these posts, Facebook notes that News Feed will take into account when many people flag a post as false, as well as when many people choose to a delete post. Not only will these posts get reduced distribution in the News Feed, but they will also be annotated with a message warning people that many others on Facebook have reported it.


Lastly, Facebook notes that its testing shows people tend not to report satirical content, so this type of content should not be affected. This means well-known news satire organizations, such as The Onion, should not see a reduction in the distribution of their content.