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Facebook thinks that its users cannot tell fact from satire

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Tue Aug 19 2014, 13:31
Facebook is making it easier for users to tell fact from satire

SOCIAL NETWORK Facebook is testing a warning sign for moon calf users who cannot tell satire from fact.

There are people out there who believe that The Onion is an actual news website, and there are people that do not. Facebook is aiming a little test at people who fall into the former camp, and will tag articles that are likely to confuse them with a "satire" tag.

"We are running a small test, which shows the text '[Satire]' in front of links to satirical articles in the related articles unit in News Feed," said the firm in a statement.

"This is because we received feedback that people wanted a clearer way to distinguish satirical articles from others in these units."

While we must applaud the concerned parties for using Facebook and for asking it to be clearer when reports about the sexiness of North Korean leaders are posted, we must also suggest that the "satire" tag rather ruins the gag for anyone else.

Perhaps, rather than use a word tag, Facebook could employ an emoji of some kind. Maybe a winking face, or a raised eyebrow. Or maybe it shouldn't bother at all.

Website Marketwatch reported the Facebook trial and it said that the spokesperson that it spoke to refused to go into much more detail. We have put in a request to Facebook, and will see what it says.

We have taken the Marketwatch article at face value. It is of course possible, though rather unlikely, that the whole thing is satire. µ


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