Facebook wants to be a credible news source. After coming under some heavy fire for spreading false or fake news, the social media site is now doing everything it can to become a reliable news source for users. One move in the trusted news direction is to connect users with politicians.
The company has unveiled three new features that connect users with elected representatives. These new features will make it simpler for users to comment on matters impacting lives locally, respond to politician comments, and make themselves known as constituents.
One of the new features allows users to turn on a ‘Constituent’ badge. These badges identify users as living in a politician’s district. Once a badge has been turned on, users can comment on content shared by politicians. When commenting, these badges will be clearly marked. This allows constituents to have a stronger voice and politicians to recognize when someone in their district makes a comment.
Another feature called ‘Constituent Insights’ allows elected officials to see what news stories are important or shared in each area. Politicians will also be able to target districts with the stories that they do post. All of this has been created to allow for better communication between constituents and elected officials.
During last year’s presidential race, Hillary Clinton (who lost to Donald Trump) voiced complaints that information about here was being spread through Facebook, but that most of that information was false or fake news-based. Since that time, Facebook has been more aggressive when it comes to curating news that is posted and shared on the site.
This is a difficult battle for Facebook. On the one hand, the company requires advertising dollars to survive, and those dollars often come from content companies that spread fake news purely to get more clicks (more clicks means more dollars). On the other hand, Facebook wants to be a credible news source - without this credibility, the company might face losing a number of users.
A Battle Brewing
There is a definite battle against fake news gaining traction across the Internet. Many people want to read news that is researched and informs properly. Most people do not know that they are reading fake news when they click on an article that’s popularly shared through a network like Facebook.
Those in the know want news sources to be checked and want to put an end to ‘clickbait.’ Companies like Facebook want to do both - keeping advertiser dollars is important, but so is making sure that news spread on the site is credible.
The new features that Facebook has added might help people connect with local elected officials, but it does not cut back on fake news necessarily. Curating news stories that are spread across the site is something that Facebook is still working on. Hopefully, the company will come up with a viable solution sometime soon.
For now, it’s best to check every news source that comes across your Facebook feed. If it seems too good to be true or too crazy to be true, it probably is.