Will Facterbot help improve Facebook’s reputation?
Whether it’s an unresearched meme your anti-vaxxer sister-in-law shared or an attack ad funded by a foreign agent, there’s no doubt that Facebook has been complicit in helping spread vicious lies, ridiculous rumors, and good grief–flat earth weirdness. While the site claims that it cannot control this level of content and has no interest in curbing people’s content unless it violates their standards, there is something you can do about it.
Facterbot, a new chatbot built by Andrés Jiménez, actually weeds through the trash looking for the gems in order to help fight back against fake news. It then delivers the truth behind the posts to its followers, lending a level of credibility to the story. As a journalist working towards a Master’s degree, Jimenez has a particular interest in rifling through the useless information floating out there.
In an interview with Daniel Funke for Poynter.org, Andrés Jiménez said: “False stories are shared more than the fact checks that debunk them. I thought that sending the stories directly to them could combat that and make it a lot easier to discover if something is false.”
Locate and share
Unfortunately, the most automated aspect of this bot is its ability to locate stories and share the results. Jimenez still has to put in the legwork of finding suspicious stories, debunking them, then sharing them. The originator of the chatbot sees tremendous applications in fact checking research as well, and hopes it will be a source of solid information for a variety of purposes. Of course, the biggest benefit to it is providing the public with an innate sense of questioning, causing them to doubt the “face value” response that makes fake news travel so far, so quickly.
Fake news, social media hoaxes, and scams are such a prevalent problem that Statista has been tracking and reporting data on a vast array of subtopics within those categories.