Facebook is rolling out its new tool against fake news.
The feature, announced in December is the result of collaboration with “third-party fact-checking organisations.”
Designed to combat to the spread of misinformation on the platform, it warns users when they try to post fake stories.
The fact-checker is working for some U.S.-based users who tried to share a story that falsely asserted thousands of Irish people were brought to the United States as slaves.
The story entitled “The Irish slave trade — the slaves that time forgot” was published by the Rhode Island blog Newport Buzz and widely shared ahead of St Patrick’s Day on 17 March.
Clicking on it would open a second pop-up with more information:
“Sometimes people share fake news without knowing it. When independent fact-checkers dispute this content, you may be able to visit their websites to find out why,” it reads. “Only fact-checkers signed up to Poynter’s non-partisan code of principles are shown.”
If you ignore the warning, another pop-up asserts that the article’s accuracy is “disputed by multiple, independent fact-checkers”.
If you proceed to publish the article a red box still shows up in the timeline:
The feature was announced in December 2016 but this appears to be the first time people have noticed it on a story that went viral.
Mashable attempted to post the story using a device in London, but the red alert did not show up.
Facebook’s help centre page entitled ‘How is news marked as disputed on Facebook’ confirms that the feature isn’t available to everyone yet.
Some Trump supporters have been critical of the tool, questioning its veracity.
Paul Joseph Watson, editor-at-large of Infowars, criticised the inclusion of Snopes in Facebook’s list of independent fact-checkers.
This is now appearing on Facebook posts. Snopes is a bias, far-left outfit. It is not a responsible “fact-checker”. pic.twitter.com/IMB0RVJklz
— Paul Joseph Watson (@PrisonPlanet) March 18, 2017
Liam Hogan, a librarian and historian based in Ireland, said Trump supporters were “losing their minds” about the red alert:
Trump supporters & others are losing their minds that Facebook is now showing this warning when they share a certain “Irish slaves” article pic.twitter.com/fzeU8ZOzjb
— Liam Hogan (@Limerick1914) March 19, 2017
Other Trump fans or right-wing bloggers took to Twitter to assert that the Irish slave trade was real and Facebook was committing “Pre-Thoughtcrime”:
Facebook and Snopes are now trying to pass off the Irish slave trade as fake because it doesn’t fit their agenda… pic.twitter.com/o1KMFgHFth
— Zsuzsanna (@2x2sometimes5) March 17, 2017