A new Chrome plugin called the B.S. Detector aims to keep fake news off Facebook with red warnings that appear on user’s News Feed to flag sketchy stories — if, that is, Facebook unblocks it.
Fake or misleading news has emerged as a major problem in the media industry after many voters shared fake news regarding the presidential election. With the new plugin, red warnings would appear on some Facebook News Feed items to help keep everyone in check, but the social media company is currently blocking the plugin, according to TechCrunch.
The B.S. Detector flags stories that fall into the following eight categories: Conspiracy theories, fake news, satire, extreme bias, rumor mill, state news, junk science and hate groups. The red warnings say, for example, “This website is not a reliable news source. Reason: Classification Pending.”
TechCrunch on Thursday reported that Facebook began warning users about potentially fake news, but the website corrected the article because the warning labels are a result of the B.S. Detector, not Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s plan to fight fake news. Now, the company has blocked the plugin.
“I believe they are doing this because of TechCrunch article that came out yesterday, falsely identifying a screenshot of my plugin as a Facebook feature under development,” design technologist and creator of B.S. Detector Daniel Sieradski told TechCrunch.
He continued: “It would seem I’ve caused them some embarrassment by showing them to be full of bull when it comes to their supposed inability to address fake news and they are punishing me for it.”
Facebook did not immediately respond to TheWrap’s request for comment.
Last month, Zuckerberg outlined his plan to fight fake news being spread on Facebook.
“The bottom line is: we take misinformation seriously,” Zuckerberg posted on Facebook in November. “Our goal is to connect people with the stories they find most meaningful, and we know people want accurate information. We’ve been working on this problem for a long time and we take this responsibility seriously. We’ve made significant progress, but there is more work to be done.”
The seven-point plan Zuckerberg laid out didn’t get too into specifics, but are, as follows:
- Stronger detection: including implementing new technology to sniff out false info
- Easy reporting: for users who spot fake news
- Third party verification: from recognized fact-checking organizations
- Warnings: which would alert readers to articles that have been flagged as potentially fake
- Related articles quality: setting a higher bar for related links that appear below articles
- Disrupting fake news economics: including better “ad farm detection”
- Listening: working with journalists for input and fact-checking systems.