Facebook to Add More ‘Friction’ to Try to Make it Harder to Spread Election Misinformation
With the outcome of the election still uncertain, the New York Times reported yesterday (November 5th) that Facebook was planning to add more, quote, “friction,” to try to make it harder for election misinformation to spread virally on the platform. “Friction” is something that would make it take just a tiny bit longer to share posts or other content, such as adding another click or two to share. The Times said Facebook will also demote content in the News Feed if it contains election-related misinformation to make it less visible, and also limit the distribution of election-related Facebook Live streams. Facebook is taking the steps in reaction to seeing more activity by users and Facebook groups amid the unsettled election result to coordinate potentially violent action over issues like claims of voter fraud. The report said the changes would most likely be temporary. Facebook also suspended political advertising indefinitely this week because of the election, and has notifications at the top of people’s News Feed that says no winner has been called.

YOUR TURN:

  • What do you think of Facebook adding the “friction” of something like having to click an extra time or two to share posts or other content as a way to try to make it harder for election misinformation to spread virally?
  • Do you think this will actually do anything to stop it, since it’s pretty easy to just click another time or two?
  • What about it planning to demote content in News Feed if it contains election misinformation, and already suspending political ads and putting notifications at the top of the News Feed that says no winner has been called yet?
  • These changes will supposedly be temporary, but should it keep the added “friction” before sharing content? What about not accepting political advertising going forward?
  • Do you think social media, Facebook and Twitter in particular, have been damaging to our politics in the U.S.?