Facebook Attempts to Teach Its Users To Recognize Satire - With A "Satire" Tag

Monday, August 18, 2014 - 10:17 AM

The old "The-Onion-being-mistaken-as-real-news" rubric is now so common at this point as to be mundane. In fact, the website "literally unbelievable" exists solely catalog unsuspecting Facebookers falling for The Onion's headlines. And The Onion is no longer the only site that traffics in parody that gets passed off as real news, it's just the best known, and most clearly satirical. Sites like The Daily Currant and The National Report - both less clearly satire and significantly less funny than The Onion - regularly get picked up as real news as well. Facebook is running a test on some users where it attempts to more clearly demarcate articles from The Onion as satire

Image Courtesy Ars Technica

 

Via Ars Technica:

[A Facebook Spokesperson said] "We are running a small test which shows the text '[Satire]' in front of links to satirical articles in the related articles unit in News Feed. This is because we received feedback that people wanted a clearer way to distinguish satirical articles from others in these units." That test has been ongoing for over a month, and while we were told other satirical sites' links have received the same tags, we were not given a list of those sites. Our question about whether the tag would ever appear in other places on Facebook remained unanswered.

I would love to see this applied across social media. It would severely limit the amount of times per month I have to tell someone on Facebook that The Borowitz Report isn't actually news. I imagine that if people are told on social media what satire looks like, they will be more likely to spot it in other contexts, and will be less likely to share it as fact. Then again, if people can fall for the "Disgraceful photo of recreational hunter happily posing next to a Triceratops he just slaughtered," this may just be a hopeless cause.

 

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Comments [9]

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Oct. 20 2014 03:44 PM
Terry McKenna

If the source is the onion, most of us know it is satire. But with such bizarre news available (i am thinking mostly from right wing sites) it is not hard to imagine that even the most bizarre story is, if not true, at least really thought to be true by some. After all, there really are sites that report that Obama is a secret muslim, and that the Feds are buying bullets with a malign purpose. So what really is not possibly thought to be true?

Oct. 18 2014 08:03 AM
Jerry from Fairfax, VA

For the record, I really don't think anybody was truly angered by the "Disgraceful photo" of the hunter and the triceratops. (I shared and posted angry comments too.) What Alex is missing here is that many of us want to participate in the satire too.

Sep. 22 2014 01:39 PM

If this were a serious comment, I would denote it at the beginning with the proper metadata or at least a %-)

Back in the old days, there used to be newspapers and books and other whole documents. And we were not allowed to read between the lines, only the literal truth (now I understand the oft misused term: literally). Unfortunately, back then scalawags would use Swiftisms to confuse the reader. Perhaps because the truth is not always literal, but deeper. Consuming babies apparently was not what was being promoted, but it was literally what was printed.

Literal truth is not truth. Meaning lies deeper in well written texts.

So should we decrease the margins in order to provide room for annotations...in order to increase the margins of profit.

By marking the text as satire, a word that few understand who did not get that the literal and actual truth were inconsistent, is to only further lose meaning.

If you have to explain the joke, it is not a joke.

The only true fix is to educate the reader generally to be a better reader.

Aug. 20 2014 08:47 AM
treppenwitz from Los Angeles

"Daily Currant" and their ilk are "clickerbaitors".

Aug. 19 2014 05:19 AM
Arg from Milwaukee, WI

I would rather have a tag that certifies bizarre but real news. Oh, wait, Chuck Shepherd is already doing that.

Aug. 18 2014 03:08 PM
Sean

So, how will they label Fox "news"?

Aug. 18 2014 01:24 PM
Brewmaster

This would also be good for all Bible references.

Aug. 18 2014 01:21 PM
Jason A. Quest

It isn't the Onion that needs this so much as the hoax sites that claim to be satire, but really just post false stories (which have no value as commentary or humor) as attention-seeking click-bait.

It might also be fitting for NaturalNews.com, which I suspect to be one of the longest trolls in internet history.

Aug. 18 2014 12:11 PM

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TLDR is a short podcast and blog about the internet by Meredith Haggerty. You can subscribe to the TLDR podcast here. You can follow our blog here. I tweet @manymanywords and @tldr.

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