It’s happened to any or all of us. We see a buddy or relative share a relatively topical little news with a clicky headline on Facebook, simply to open the web link and discover it absolutely was written four years ago and contains outdated information. Sighs.
Thankfully, that will soon happen a whole lot less. Starting today, Facebook is rolling out an element that’ll warn users before they share a write-up over 90 days old. You’ll start to see the notification in the event that you click the share button on a vintage article, but it’s not yet determined when it works together simply copying and pasting a link. Obviously, sometimes old news is relevant, in order to still share the piece if you’d like after clicking through the warning.
Facebook says that “the timeliness of an article is an important piece of context that helps people decide what to read, trust and share” and that publishers have been concerned over old news misconstruing current events.
After all, just think of all the headlines you read and ignore; even if you never click through on an article, your perception of current events are likely colored by what you see people sharing on their feeds. And as a reporter, it’s long been clear that many readers never bother to read bylines, let alone dates. Some publishers have even begun placing their own labels on older pieces just to make the context clear.
Facebook is considering other types of warning labels too, such as providing additional context about articles related to COVID-19, including background on the source of the link and a link to its COVID-19 Information Center for more reliable health information.
Twitter recently piloted a feature that would warn people before sharing an article they haven’t, you know, actually read. Along with Facebook‘s update today, it’s nice to see the social media giants taking a more proactive approach to fighting disinformation on their platforms — especially as the US’ general election rapidly approaches.