Facebook in a blog post announced that they will be adding a function to notify users when they share an old article. This announcement pairs with a feature they added in 2018 that added context pop on articles. This function would provide users with corresponding news and information about the publisher.
So why has Facebook done this?
Facebook in their blog post said:
“Over the past several months, our internal research found that the timeliness of an article is an important piece of context that helps people decide what to read, trust and share. News publishers in particular have expressed concerns about older stories being shared on social media as current news, which can misconstrue the state of current events”
The notification will warn users when they are about to post an article that is more than 90 days old.
Giving users this prompt is a good thing. Some articles no longer reflect the true state of affairs and may not add to the general conversation. It may help users frame the reason they have chosen an older article to put their point across.
On the other hand, some older articles may give historical context to a conversation. Others may contain details of events that some people may have been unaware of.
Facebook aren’t alone in this. Twitter earlier this month tried something similar with a feature that asked users if they’ve read the article they were about to share. What is good is that they both aren’t trying to prohibit anyone from posting their opinions. They are trying to do what they can to fight misinformation without having to resort to outright censorship.
Facebook is also considering a feature that points users to their COVID-19 Information Center whenever the disease is mentioned in a post.