November 29, 2016

Update: at 12.45pm U.S. Eastern the post reappeared. The headline and story have been updated to reflect this as well as a subsequent response from Facebook.

On November 19th, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg used his Facebook page to outline his company’s nascent strategy to combat “fake news.”

On Tuesday morning, the post stopped appearing on his timeline, and links to that post led to this error message:

screenshot, Facebook

screenshot, Facebook

Thanks to the Internet Archive, the content of that post was still available. Below are the projects that Zuckerberg claimed were already underway as part of the company’s “roadmap.”

– Stronger detection. The most important thing we can do is improve our ability to classify misinformation. This means better technical systems to detect what people will flag as false before they do it themselves.

– Easy reporting. Making it much easier for people to report stories as fake will help us catch more misinformation faster.

– Third party verification. There are many respected fact checking organizations and, while we have reached out to some, we plan to learn from many more.

– Warnings. We are exploring labeling stories that have been flagged as false by third parties or our community, and showing warnings when people read or share them.

– Related articles quality. We are raising the bar for stories that appear in related articles under links in News Feed.

– Disrupting fake news economics. A lot of misinformation is driven by financially motivated spam. We’re looking into disrupting the economics with ads policies like the one we announced earlier this week, and better ad farm detection.

– Listening. We will continue to work with journalists and others in the news industry to get their input, in particular, to better understand their fact checking systems and learn from them.

Contacted by email, a Facebook spokesperson told Poynter that “these posts were removed by mistake.”

The spokesperson added that “this was caused by an error in one of our systems and the posts have now been restored. Mark’s account was not compromised, and he stands behind the words in his posts.”

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Alexios Mantzarlis joined Poynter to lead the International Fact-Checking Network in September of 2015. In this capacity he writes about and advocates for fact-checking. He…
Alexios Mantzarlis

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