Facebook is turning to its community to rank the trustworthiness of news sources of the platform in a bid to curb the spreading of false or misleading news.

You know the kind of news we’re talking about here. Stories that carry rambunctious headlines that warrant sharing but more often than not (upon closer inspection and research) turn out to be false.

To determine which news sources are trusted and which are not Facebook is asking the community for feedback in the form of a survey.

The trouble is that to determine which news sources are trusted the social network is asking users just two questions according to Buzzfeed.

The questions are: “Do you recognize the following website” with the option to answer yes or no and “How much do you trust each of these domains” with a scale of answers ranging from Entirely to Not at all.

And that is it.

No questions about why a user trusts this source, whether they have ever reported so-called fake news or anything other than whether you trust this source and how much.

There does appear to be a method to Mark Zuckerberg’s madness which he explained in a Facebook post last week.

“The idea is that some news organizations are only trusted by their readers or watchers, and others are broadly trusted across society even by those who don’t follow them directly,” said Zuck.

He added, “This update will not change the amount of news you see on Facebook. It will only shift the balance of news you see towards sources that are determined to be trusted by the community.”

Here’s the thing though more often than not have I seen friends blindly sharing “news” stories because they serve a narrative. Whether a person trusts a news source or not doesn’t seem to be the problem.

Just this week friends were sharing a story about how Minister of Home Affairs Ayanda Dlodlo called Cape Town a country. That story was not true yet it was shared en-masse because the headline was sensational.

Of course only time will tell whether this survey works and we hope it does because Facebook really does have a fake news problem.

[Image – CC0 Pixabay]
Brendyn Lotz writes news, reviews, and opinion pieces for Hypertext. His interests include SMEs, innovation on the African continent, cybersecurity, blockchain, games, geek culture and YouTube.