Folks, there is no such thing as a deadly snow snake, even though someone may have posted a disturbing article on your Facebook feed warning of a white snake that hides in the snow and, once bitten by it, causes your blood to freeze. While these and other hoaxes may seem obviously fake to some, they often spread with reckless abandon across Facebook, and that's something the social networking site is actively working to reduce.
To combat these false stories, the Facebook team rolled out an update to the News Feed that reduces the distribution of posts that people have reported as hoaxes, while also adding an annotation to posts that have received many of these types of reports to warn others on Facebook. By going this route, Facebook can effectively cut down on the number hoaxes you see while stopping short of policing posts and removing stories that people report as false.
Facebook rolled out an update that should cut down on the number of fake news stories and hoaxes, like the one warning of a deadly "snow snake" having supposedly killed 3 people in Ohio.
"We are now reviewing content and making a determination on its accuracy," Facebook's Erich Owens (Software Engineer) and Udi Weinsberg (Research Scientist) stated in a joint blog post.
Instead, Facebook's algorithmic magic takes into account when several people flag a post as false. It also takes into account when many people choose to delete posts. So, a post with a link to an article that many people have reported as a hoax or chosen to delete will get reduced in the distribution in the News Feed, Facebook explains.
The new way of handling these things applies to posts including links, photos, videos, and status updates.
Can't tell if a story is real or a hoax? Once again, let us recommend adding Snopes to your bookmarks. It's a great resource that not only tells you if a story is real or fake, but also where and how the hoax originated.