Social media giant, Facebook is following the footpath of its fellow counterpart – Twitter by rolling out a new feature that asks whether a user has read an article or not before sharing.
Strangely, Facebook made the announcement on Monday via its Twitter handle – The Facebook Newsroom and revealed that it will be effective starting from today.
Starting today, we’re testing a way to promote more informed sharing of news articles. If you go to share a news article link you haven’t opened, we’ll show a prompt encouraging you to open it and read it, before sharing it with others. pic.twitter.com/brlMnlg6Qg
— Meta Newsroom (@MetaNewsroom) May 10, 2021
In its announcement, Facebook explained that only a portion of its users will have early access to the feature once it rolls out.
Also, those who are able to access it will get a pop notification when they make attempt to share a post.
According to its statement, the actionable notification will prompt the users to read the article; however, will not restrict them from sharing anyways.
“You’re about to share this article without opening it. Sharing articles without reading them may mean missing key facts,” the pop-up read.
Also, users can either tap on the option “Open Article” to read the full article or in the event that they choose to ignore, simply tap the ” Continue Sharing” option to proceed to share the article.
Although new on Facebook, the same feature debuted on Twitter sometime in September last year and has proven to be very helpful as Twitter reported about 40% compliance in the first month of launch.
While it is still unclear whether the feature will get as much regard as it got on in Twitter’s case, all indication points to the fact that the social media giants are still out there to clamp on the spread of misinformation.
Which works better; pulling a ‘slow-down lever or an outright ban
This has been the highlight of varying opinions about the spread of misinformation for a couple of years now, although became more prominent in 2020.
A lot of industry expert believes that, unlike an outright ban, slowing dowing the spread of harmful information or misinformation in generally won’t necessarily put an end to the social dilemma.
“Features like the one Facebook started testing Monday, which “nudge” users to stop sharing uninformed content, can potentially accomplish more by gradually shifting how people post on the platform — before they share divisive or misleading content,” Vox wrote.
However, unlike using a coercive measure i.e, making sure that the article is read, the new feature can be easily ignored by the platform’s over 2.7 billion users. Regardless, the mental shift is very important for social awareness.