You are here

Facebook to start highlighting spam and hoaxes in user’s newsfeeds

22nd January 2015

Facebook has announced plans to crack down on spam and hoaxes in user’s newsfeeds, with a note highlighting ‘false information’ when enough people flag posts as a hoax.

Facebook recently announced this change in a blog post after users told them they wanted to see less hoaxes and misleading content in their feeds.

What are hoaxes?

The social network said: “hoaxes are a form of newsfeed spam that includes scams (“Click here to win a lifetime supply of coffee”) or deliberately false or misleading news stories”

“People often share these hoaxes and later decide to delete their original posts after they realise they have been tricked. These types of posts also tend to receive lots of comments from friends letting people know this is a hoax, and comments containing links to hoax-busting websites”.

Facebook also said that their testing has found people are two times more likely to delete these types of posts after receiving such a comment from a friend.

What will be updated?

To reduce the number of spam posts, Facebook’s newsfeed will take into account when lots of people flag a post as false. It will also take into account when people choose to delete posts. 

This means a post with a link to an article that lots of people have reported as a hoax or chosen to delete will get reduced distribution in the newsfeed. This update will apply to posts including links, photos, videos and status updates.

Posts that receive lots of reports will be annotated with a message warning people that many others on Facebook have reported it.

Facebook also found that from testing that people tend not to report satirical content intended to be humorous, or content that is clearly labeled as satire. This type of content should not be affected by this update.

A small set of publishers who are frequently posting hoaxes and scams will see their distribution decrease.

Read more on the Facebook blog.

Please note: Action Fraud is not responsible for the content on external websites.

If you are a victim of fraud you can call Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or use our online fraud reporting tool and receive a police crime reference number.