By Erich Owens, Software Engineer, and Udi Weinsberg, Research Scientist

The goal of News Feed is to catch up with your friends and find the things that matter to you. We’re always looking to people on Facebook to tell us how we can improve this experience. We’ve heard from people that they want to see fewer stories that are hoaxes, or misleading news. Today’s update to News Feed reduces the distribution of posts that people have reported as hoaxes and adds an annotation to posts that have received many of these types of reports to warn others on Facebook. We are not removing stories people report as false and we are not reviewing content and making a determination on its accuracy.

What are hoaxes?

Hoaxes are a form of News Feed spam that includes scams (“Click here to win a lifetime supply of coffee”), or deliberately false or misleading news stories (“Man sees dinosaur on hike in Utah”). People often share these hoaxes and later decide to delete their original posts after they realize 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. In fact, our testing found people are two times more likely to delete these types of posts after receiving such a comment from a friend.

News Feed - Fewer Hoaxes - Example

Recently, we added an option for people to report a story they see in News Feed as false. This works in the same way as reporting a story as spam. When you click to hide a story you also have the option to report the content. Stories that include scams, or deliberately misleading news, are reported two and a half times more often than links to other news stories.

News Feed - Fewer Hoaxes - Report a Story as False

What’s the update?

To reduce the number of these types of posts, News Feed will take into account when many people flag a post as false. News Feed will also take into account when many people choose to delete posts. This means a post with a link to an article that many people have reported as a hoax or chosen to delete will get reduced distribution in News Feed. 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.

News Feed - Fewer Hoaxes - Annotation Warning Many Have Reporter

Will this affect my Page?

We’ve found 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.

The vast majority of publishers on Facebook will not be impacted by this update. A small set of publishers who are frequently posting hoaxes and scams will see their distribution decrease.