According to the New York Times, at a moment in Facebook’s history when publishers are seeing a decrease in traffic and shrinking engagement, the site seems to be boosting fake news. The social media giant is running a new update which divides user posts from your friends and pages from the content posted by professional news websites such as featured news bulletins and articles. The news stories are now shifted to a portion called Explore which is being currently being tested in Bolivia, Cambodia, Guatemala, Serbia, Slovakia and Sri Lanka.
Publishers in these countries say that visits to their news sites have significantly dropped in favor of loose news posted by non-professionals or fake news sites. Slovakia experienced such a story when a rumor, in the form of proper news, spread that a Muslim man had warned a pedestrian who returned his fallen wallet back to him about an upcoming terrorist attack. The story was so widely shared by Slovakian Facebook users that the police had to give an official statement declaring the incident to be completely fabricated. The irony? The statement did not even appear on the news feed of user since it was from an official police account and was only posted in the Explore tab.
As of right now, Facebook’s test run of the Explore tab continues. It must be noted that only last week Facebook said that it wants their News Feed to promote “meaningful posts”.