Facebook will stop flagging content that’s been declared false by external fact-checkers, and will instead surface fact-checks as related articles in the News Feed, the social media giant announced Wednesday.
The move represents the biggest outward facing change to Facebook’s year-old partnership with fact-checkers. The company said this new approach will be more effective in stopping the spread of misinformation, while also making it easier to scale its effort to other markets and content types.
Tessa Lyons, a News Feed product manager, told BuzzFeed News that surfacing fact-checks as related articles proved more effective in tests than applying a disputed flag to stories in the News Feed.
“Related articles outperformed disputed flags in giving people more information so they could understand what was true or false,” she said. “Hoaxes that had related article fact checks had fewer shares than those with the disputed flag.”
The related articles module appears underneath a piece of content in the News Feed, and was first rolled out in April.
Lyons wrote in a blog post announcing the change that “putting a strong image, like a red flag, next to an article may actually entrench deeply held beliefs — the opposite effect to what we intended. Related Articles, by contrast, are simply designed to give more context, which our research has shown is a more effective way to help people get to the facts.”
Brendan Nyhan, a political scientist at Dartmouth College who researches misinformation, said he was “optimistic” about the change.
“I have always been concerned that…