Facebook will soon let you know if a link you’re about to post is old news. It’s rolling out a notification worldwide starting today, which will pop up when you go to share something more than 90 days old. It should prompt users to think about whether what they want to share with their friends is still relevant before they pop it on their feed.
“Over the past several months, our internal research found that the timeliness of an article is an important piece of context that helps people decide what to read, trust and share,” John Hegeman, vice-president of Feed and Stories, wrote. He added that the issue has given news publishers cause for concern. When people share old news they frame as something more up to date (intentionally or not), that can cause some confusion about the current state of a certain story or topic.
Facebook’s latest notification builds on news verification tools it introduced in 2018, such as bringing more context to articles people share, including related news and information about the publisher from their Wikipedia page, if one’s available. The company’s planning to test other types of notifications in the coming months. One that it’s considering would point users to the COVID-19 information center when someone shares a link to something that mentions the disease.
It’s not the only platform that’s prompting people to more carefully consider what they’re sharing. Earlier this month, Twitter started an Android test in which it asks users whether they want to actually read an article before they tweet it.
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