Facebook plans to roll out the trustworthiness scale to chunk out fake news
It has been quite some time that we are reading articles of fake news or baseless rumors being carried by the social media. Be it forwarded WhatsApp messages or Facebook, Instagram posts, there is always an issue about the extent to which the content is true. We have all received one text for sure, from the apparent CEO of WhatsApp. Most users have also forwarded that message to numerous recipients to ensure their WhatsApp service continues. There have been rumors about earthquake warnings and the flood-affected Kerala too; and most times, these messages cause an enormous amount of inconvenience or discomfort to the general public.
Facebook has a solution to curb this problem. Facebook claims to have found a way to rate its user’s trustworthiness on a scale of 0 to 1. There is no clarity on how it works, but the implementation is on its way. Facebook already has a feature for us, so we can flag posts as inappropriate. But that is not yet enough to pick the truth out of the millions of posts every day. Most people seem to flag content which is not inappropriate, rather something which they disagree with.
The opacity facebook maintains about the algorithm raises various concerns about the trustworthiness feature. Whether or not everyone will be rated on the scale of trustworthiness, questions on how this score would be used to eliminate fake content and show trustworthy news, and to what level does this score define the credibility of a user, is unclear.
As experts believe, the system is imagined to be based on the behavior of users as per their previous posts. If a person flagged a post as fake, and it was later verified by Facebook to be false, the user would have a considerably good “trustworthiness score”. In future flaggings, Facebook would be trusting such users more and their future flaggings would be considered more reliable. This, in the long run, would probably get each user a score on the scale which will suggest the reliability of the user. Facebook says the system would be completely automated, and so would be efficient enough to keep an eye on the huge volume of posts every day.
Rumors have been causes of numerous harmful instances around the country, and it is high time these get curbed. The cyber crime police are doing its tasks, but that has not been sufficient. It is great to hear directly from the media platforms about their steps to help its users.
It would be of great help if Facebook implements the transparent version of the algorithm, so the users can know about how they are being judged. Also, if this mechanism creeps into other social media platforms like Twitter, Instagram, and WhatsApp; we could all only read true versions circulating through them. If this is put to use, you might not receive messages from our prime minister Narendra Modi, or from the CEO of WhatsApp or Facebook; or people who pretend to be these tycoons.