If you’ve ever been fooled by a fake news story on Facebook, you’ll like the feature the social network is testing. Mashable has confirmed that Facebook is testing a “satire” notation on stories that show up in your news feed. Facebook says they’re had requests for such a notation because people sometimes have a hard time figuring out which headlines are real and which are fake.
There are times when it’s tricky to figure out, especially at a glance. That’s kind of the point. Sites such as The Onion and The Daily Currant are at their best when the headline sounds like it could have come from the pages of the New York Times. So, I get it. . . but I’m not giving everyone a pass.
Remember all those people who freaked out because they thought Steven Spielberg had killed a real dinosaur for Jurassic Park?
So now we have to label ads, label satire – next we should label airbrushed photos of actresses so people understand that they don’t really look like that.
Meanwhile, over at Twitter headquarters, they’re conducting a few tests of their own.
The Next Web has evidence of Timeline tinkering - namely the addition of Tweets that were favorited by people you follow. It’s completely counterintuitive. Twitter has a system for sharing a tweet with others, it’s called a reTweet. If you want other people to see something, you reTweet it. If you want to save a Tweet because you want to respond later, because it makes you smile or because you want to reference it in an article you’re writing, you favorite it. That action marks the Tweet and makes it easy to retrieve. A favorite is not something you intended to share with the world and here’s Twitter sharing it anyway.
If this is going to be the norm, then why bother having RT’s and Favorites as separate choices?
Here’s the bigger issue: if Twitter is manipulating what shows up in the timeline they’re no better than Facebook! That’s the one thing I’ve always loved about Twitter – they don’t mess with my feed. When someone I follow posts, it shows up in real time. There are no fancy algorithms deciding which Tweet is more important than another. But now that I see this test, I have to wonder if it’s not a sign of things to come.
Bottom line has always been and still is this. . . if a person isn’t smart enough to read, understand and filter the content that comes from their tribe, that’s their own, personal problem. I (and most of the people I know) don’t need a social network to explain or prioritize the content that rolls in on a daily basis. Really, we’ve got it covered.