Get Your Lies Off My News Feed

Facebook has deployed updates that will help banish hoaxes and false news stories from your News Feed. (No word yet on banning baby pictures.)

Social media continues to play an ever-increasing role in how news is consumed and subsequently spread. There’s a great power in this ease and speed—on the positive side, often making for a more well-informed and engaged public—but also a great danger when the news being devoured and disseminated happens to be false.

Facebook, one of social media’s frontrunners in the news forum, announced updates to its News Feed yesterday via a blog post that will attempt to further quell the distribution of hoaxes and misleading news relying on user feedback. It works like this: A user can opt to hide a post from their News Feed and flag is as a “false news story,” exactly in the same manner that they can hide and flag posts that go against their views or that they find “annoying or distasteful” (hint, hint: people posting 17 baby pictures a day).

Photo courtesy Facebook

Zuckerberg’s Army takes into account when a post is flagged, how often, as well as deleted posts (as people often delete shared posts upon realizing they’re spreading lies), then reducing the distribution of these posts and tagging it with the following off-putting annotation:

“Many people on Facebook have reported that this story contains false information.”

Now this doesn’t mean Facebook’s becoming a rigorous fact-checking, journalism-upholding machine. It won’t be removing stories reported as hoaxes or false news, and their team won’t be reviewing content to make their own judgment call. And those worried that comically-inclined posts will be flooded with flags needn’t fret, says Facebook software engineer Erich Owens and research scientist Udi Weinsberg. “We’ve found from testing that people tend not to report satirical content intended to be humorous, or content that is clearly labeled as satire,” they say.

But hey, since you are what you share, and no one wants to be a hoax-peddling liar (right?), perhaps this will encourage people to do a little fact-checking before they share…or at least read the damn article.

via International Monetary Fund / Flickr and Streetsblog Denver / Flickr

Seventeen-year-old Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg made a dramatic speech Tuesday at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

In her address, she called for a public and private sector divestment from fossil fuel companies

"Immediately end all fossil fuel subsidies and immediately and completely divest from fossil fuels. We don't want these things done by 2050, or 2030 or even 2021 — we want this done now," she said.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin mocked the teenager on Thursday during a press briefing in Davos.

Keep Reading
The Planet

Even though marathon running is on the decline, half a million people signed up to participate in the 2020 London Marathon. It seems wild that someone would voluntarily sign up to run 26.2 miles, but those half a million people might actually be on to something. A new study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology found that running a marathon can help reverse signs of aging.

Researchers at Barts and University College London looked at 138 first-time marathon runners between the ages of 21 and 69. "We wanted to look at novice athletes. We didn't include people who said they ran for more than two hours a week," Dr. Charlotte Manisty, the study's senior author and cardiologist at University College London, said per CNN.

Keep Reading
via David Leavitt / Twitter and RealTargetTori / Twitter

Last Friday, GOOD reported on an infuriating incident that went down at a Massachusetts Target.

A Target manager who's come to be known as "Target Tori," was harassed by Twitter troll David Leavitt for not selling him an $89 Oral-B Pro 5000 toothbrush for a penny.

He describes himself as a "multimedia journalist who has worked for CBS, AXS, Yahoo, and others."

Keep Reading