It’s a term relatively fresh in the worldwide vernacular, enjoying its online popularity spike somewhere around November of 2016. “Fake News,” as defined by Merriam Webster, refers to “a political story which is seen as damaging to an agency, entity, or person,” but goes a bit beyond that, extending past the political sphere to cover any false story parading as legitimate news, regardless of topicality.
During the 2016 election, the 10 most popular viral fake news stories on Facebook were engaged with (clicked on, liked, shared, commented on) over eight million times, according to Business Insider. This rate of disinformation-spreading can be pretty jarring, but thanks to a new feature from the popular social media network, it will be much easier to see through the fallacious smokescreen. Fake news has been around for a long time–this is how the U.S. countered propaganda during World War II.
The new feature will come in the form of a small information bubble on any article shared on the website. When you click on the “more information” bubble, background details about the article publisher will be provided, additional links to other articles written by the publisher, and a geographical breakdown of where the article is gaining traction on social media.
So if you see an article shared on Facebook titled “Instead of Wearing a Seatbelt, Just Eat 2 Fistfuls of Almonds” you can click the “more information” button to reveal that the post was written by “AlmondsAlmondsAlmonds.com,” a site not known for its journalistic repute. (If you’re looking to check if a photo is fake on the Internet, use this feature on your web browser—you won’t be fooled again.)