While Facebook has garnered the ire of its app users by forcing them to download its Messenger app, the social website seems to be looking out for the more gullible of its consumers. At least those who tend to believe stories written by satirical sites such as The Onion.
Currently, Facebook is automatically placing the word “satire” in brackets when such articles pop up in a user’s newsfeed. However, the auto-tagging only occurs in the newsfeed’s “related articles” box and not the original post. Whenever you click on an article in your newsfeed, Facebook will generate three related articles that will show up in a box underneath it. Now, when you click on a satirical article from sites like The Onion, the three related articles that pop up will be auto-tagged with the word “satire.”
Unfortunately, this auto-tagging function still leaves room for some people to fall for these satirical articles. For example, the original post on a friend’s feed will not have the tag. The same goes for The Onion’s Facebook page. In addition, other spoof sites seem to be immune to the tag at the moment.
ArsTechnica reached out to Facebook for comment on this feature and received the following statement from a Facebook representative, “We are running a small test which shows the text '[Satire]' in front of links to satirical articles in the related articles unit in News Feed. This is because we received feedback that people wanted a clearer way to distinguish satirical articles from others in these units."
Will this "satire" tag help cut back on the amount of times people take such articles seriously?