Facebook takes after Twitter to combat misinformation with 'read first' prompt
What you need to know
- Facebook is testing an informed sharing method on its platform.
- The app will prompt users to read an article before sharing it.
- The feature is similar to a prompt that Twitter introduced last summer.
Facebook continues its crusade against the spread of misinformation by launching a new prompt to promote the "informed sharing of news articles." The prompt will appear when a user attempts to share a news article that they haven't read. It will provide the option to read the article or continue sharing it.
The feature was announced Monday on Twitter:
Starting today, we're testing a way to promote more informed sharing of news articles. If you go to share a news article link you haven't opened, we'll show a prompt encouraging you to open it and read it, before sharing it with others. pic.twitter.com/brlMnlg6QgStarting today, we're testing a way to promote more informed sharing of news articles. If you go to share a news article link you haven't opened, we'll show a prompt encouraging you to open it and read it, before sharing it with others. pic.twitter.com/brlMnlg6Qg— Facebook Newsroom (@fbnewsroom) May 10, 2021May 10, 2021
The feature is meant to address the sharing of false information, which has become a major source of distress for social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, especially throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and the 2020 election. Since news headlines can be misleading, the prompt hopes to encourage users to know exactly what it is they're sharing and have all the facts.
Many were quick to point out that the feature is similar to one that Twitter launched last year, which warns users to first read an article before they retweet it:
Reading an article before Retweeting it? That's growth.
Before you Retweet an article, we'll remind you to read it first. pic.twitter.com/oVyTmSCc7OReading an article before Retweeting it? That's growth.
Before you Retweet an article, we'll remind you to read it first. pic.twitter.com/oVyTmSCc7O— Twitter (@Twitter) October 21, 2020October 21, 2020
When Android Central reached out to Twitter, it did not provide any insights on how these "read first" prompts might have helped combat misinformation since they were introduced. It did recently point out in its latest move to discourage rude tweets that when prompting users against offensive tweets, 34% of users revised their responses. It also highlighted an 11% decrease in offensive tweets after being prompted just once, showing that these types of prompts do affect user behavior online and likely prove useful when sharing news.
Facebook's new prompt is being tested across its platform, including the best Android phones, although it may not show up for everyone immediately.
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Derrek is a long-time Nokia and LG fanboy who loves astronomy, videography, and sci-fi movies. When he's not working, he's most likely working out or smoldering at the camera.
An obvious issue with this is when articles are paywalled. Unless Facebook (and also Twitter) is going to offer a way to bypass the paywall to read the article, it's not going to be read.
Not really. If it's paywalled and you can't read it, you still shouldn't be commenting on it or sharing it.