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Facebook launching warning flag against false news stories

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Social media's crowdsourced sense of what is worth your attention has its flaws. For one, there's the menace of patently false news stories appearing in your feed.

Facebook just announced a plan to try to mitigate against the spread of viral lies, by adding a button that allows users to flag a story as "false." This means that, if a story appears in your timeline, you have the option of flagging it as untruthful, alongside other warnings about questionable taste boundaries.

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A story that gets multiple flags might not disappear from your timeline, but its distribution will be curbed somewhat, and it could carry a disclaimer that "many people on Facebook have reported that this story contains false information."

Obviously, in our politically polarized society there are always going to be people who click "false" against stories that don't align with their own views, but Facebook says its algorithm is designed to focus on those links that lead to hoaxes, as opposed to merely divisive perspectives. We'll see how well that works in the weeks ahead.