As shocking as it might seem to us, there are folks that aren’t keeping up with the news every hour of every day.

In truth we’re well aware that keeping up-to-date with what is going on in the world can be incredibly exhausting at times.

But this presents something of a problem because, without context, some news can seem far worse than it might be if shared later than it was intended.

As an example, we know that Eskom is currently constrained and that the economy is in dire straits so if you saw the headline “Record blackouts force South Africa miners to halt work” you might be concerned. However, that headline was from a Moneyweb article published in December 2019.

The above is a situation Facebook seemingly doesn’t want on its platform. This follows an announcement that users will soon be shown a notification that a news story is older than 90 days old before they share it.

“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,” explained Facebook vice president of Feed and Stories, John Hegeman.

“Today, we’re starting to globally roll out a notification screen that will let people know when news articles they are about to share are more than 90 days old,” the VP added.

Users won’t be blocked from sharing the story following the appearance of the notification but the hope is that Facebook users see the age of the story and don’t share it.

Facebook is also reportedly looking at using the notification screen for other things. One of those is fighting COVID-19 misinformation.

“Over the next few months, we will also test other uses of notification screens. For posts with links mentioning COVID-19, we are exploring using a similar notification screen that provides information about the source of the link and directs people to the COVID-19 Information Center for authoritative health information,” says Hegeman.

The hope is that with these tools, Facebook users should be a little bit more informed when sharing news articles.

[Source – Facebook]
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.