Tech & The Web

Facebook Tests Alerts Warning About Sharing Articles You Haven’t Read

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Facebook is experimenting with new alerts that will warn its users about sharing articles that they haven’t taken the time to read first.

When I scroll through my Facebook feed, I see my connections sharing articles left and right. I often wonder how many of them bother to read before they actually share.

A good many, from what I see in the comments, don’t.

The problem grew enough over the years, especially in the age of “fake news,” that Facebook now wants to send alerts to its users about the problem.

Social Media Today reported the social media platform would begin testing the alerts. Facebook calls it a way to promote a 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.”

People on social media didn’t seem overjoyed. Then again, people on social media these days rarely seem overjoyed with anything.

One said it wouldn’t stop people from sharing conspiracy theories.

Others accused Facebook of stealing the idea from Twitter. I haven’t seen Twitter do this before, but maybe that’s because I usually read something before I share it.

That seems like the more responsible thing to do. But maybe that’s just me.

I thought one other response definitely merited consideration:

“Now do this for commenting, too,” one wrote.

I couldn’t agree more. People who comment on articles rarely read them first. You can’t really blame the pages for that. They can’t force people not to take the lazy way out.

But you can read comments on any article on any news page and find plenty of instances of people commenting on stories they clearly didn’t read first. Many times, they ask questions the article actually answers. Fellow commenters usually call them on it, but no one seems to care.

How often are you sharing articles without opening them first? Are you that trusting?

3 Comments

  1. It’s rare enough that I’m on FaceBook anymore, let alone share articles. But just a couple of days ago I shared something about the Magnus-Moss Warranty Act. It was from Wikipedia, and, yes: I read it.

    I’m losing almost any trust I had for people. It is not a feeling I like. But while I was never a big fan of news, I’m not at all a fan of news. It’s all slanted and therefor no longer classified as news.

  2. I don’t even read news articles on Facebook. It’s memes from friends, hobby interests, and that’s it. Anyone who gets any news from Facebook is a fool – that may sound harsh, but given their relentless monetization of their users, I use it for MY ends only, not theirs, and frequently supply as much misinformation to them (in the form of memes) as they peddle to others as “news”.

    and virtually every ad served up is reported as sexually inappropriate. It’s up to Zuckerberg’s minions and algorithms to figure out why I find ads for mold remediation, vinyl siding, cooking utensils, and quilting as sexually offensive.

    1. I might suggest you reconsider that idea, Janet. Maliciously and intentionally flagging content as “sexually inappropriate” when it obviously is NOT is a great way to get yourself banned from Facebook. They can do that if they think you’re abusing the reporting service.

      No one likes ads — I get that. But like them or not, ads keep the service free.

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Patrick is a Christian with more than 30 years experience in professional writing, producing and marketing. His professional background also includes social media, reporting for broadcast television and the web, directing, videography and photography. He enjoys getting to know people over coffee and spending time with his dog.