Facebook's about to launch a new feature

A warning prompt that would prevent people from sharing articles they didn't read

Facebook's new featureWith the new prompt, Facebook is hoping that people would stop depending on headlines as their news source and read articles before sharing them with others

May 10, 2021, Facebook announced[1] on Twitter that it's testing a new feature – a new prompt that would arise when the largest social media users try to share an article that they haven't read. This prompt should encourage people to dig deeper and look past the headlines written to entice the reader and are usually enough to start a social media dispute in this day and age. The idea is that users should know the whole story before sharing an article.

Facebook's Newsroom tweet reads:[2]

Starting today, we’re testing a way to promote more informed sharing of news articles. If you go to share a news article link you haven’t opened, we’ll show a prompt encouraging you to open it and read it, before sharing it with others.

These changes are definitely necessary as a conducted study[3] revealed that 71% of Americans get their news from various social media platforms. Facebook is the number one news source for about a third of US residents. That puts this social media giant and other platforms on the spot to at least try to be more accurate and carry out some adjustments.

Facebook implemented some security safeguards so that users couldn't cheat this new system by opening an article, scrolling down to its bottom, and sharing it afterward. There's a special algorithm in place that measures your interest in the content by monitoring how much time you spend reading the article.

This might be the first step of censorship on social media. However, later on, Facebook added other functions that might take people to jail. People spreading propaganda and negating the COVID-19 importance can get banned on the social media platform.

A similar system already operational on Twitter

Facebook isn't the first social media platform to implement a feature that informs readers that they're about to share an article they have not read. Almost a year ago, in June 2020, Twitter had launched a new pop-up alert that asks the user if they would like to read the article they're about to retweet., encouraging them to rethink their actions.

Although this feature is only available to Twitter users that use Androids, soon, it should be available to everyone. According to the research[4] of the social media platform, this new pop-up notification is producing good results and forming new healthy habits:

  • After seeing the prompt, people opened 40% more articles than before,
  • Before retweeting, people have opened and read 33% more articles,
  • A number of people have decided not to retweet an unread article.

Is Facebook's new feature able to prevent virus distribution

Although the new prompt is aimed to stop misinformation and get people to actually read what they're about to share with other users, this feature could enhance the site's cybersecurity level. Facebook is the largest social media platform in the entire world and had around 2.8 billion active users at the end of 2020.[5]

Where there's a lot of people, there's money to be made. Cybercriminals have been creating various infections targeting Facebook users and staff members almost since the launch of the social media platform in 2004. Malware is usually aimed at account passwords and various private data.

Whether the prompt will help the social networking portal a safer place or not, we sure hope that it follows the excellent example of Twitter and launch it as soon as possible. Reading more and getting to the bottom of things never hurt anyone.

About the author
Julie Splinters
Julie Splinters - Anti-malware specialist

Julie Splinters is the News Editor of 2-spyware. Her bachelor was English Philology.

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